Nfld. & Labrador

FISH-NL secures cash needed to keep from folding

They asked, and they received. More than 500 in-shore fish harvesters will pay the prospective union $24 a month in dues.

Ryan Cleary says prospective union will reapply for certification in 2019

Ryan Cleary says FISH-NL has signed up more than 500 members, with fish harvesters paying dues of $24 a month. (John Pike/CBC)

They asked, and they received. 

Ryan Cleary says FISH-NL has gotten the dues it needed to keep from folding, with more than 500 fish harvesters committing to pay dues to the breakaway union he started.

"As of about four o'clock this afternoon, we surpassed the 500 mark, we're well over 500 now, and the number is continuing to rise," he told CBC Radio's The Broadcast on Wednesday.

Those harvesters will pay FISH-NL $24 a month, or $288 a year, Cleary said — in addition to the dues they're still required to pay the FFAW.

"It's the boost that we need, and it's going to see us through. They're serious about breaking away, about a new union,"he said.

"It's inspiring."

Convention and certification bid coming

Cleary said the next step is to hold a FISH-NL convention, one he expects will be held in early December.

"We're going to have another election of officers, we're going to make some changes to our constitution," he said.

"And then the second thing we're going to gear up for is, in 2019, we're going to launch a second application for certification."

Efforts to create a new union for in-shore fish harvesters suffered a blow in late September, when the provincial labour relations board dismissed FISH-NL's application for union certification.

Cleary said the prospective union's first application was made "on a wing and a prayer," but now he knows the rules of the game and has financial support of more than 500 harvesters behind him for another application in 2019.

We want to represent our harvesters and what they want in every fishery around this province.- Ryan Cleary

He said FISH-NL is continuing to take new members, to strengthen the future certification bid and gather money for legal bills and to pay operational costs.

"The FFAW's going to pull out all the legal stops and try to stop us every way [they] can," said Cleary.

"We're going to need a lot of money for our law fund, to run the office, to represent inshore harvesters right now ... we want to represent our harvesters and what they want in every fishery around this province." 

With files from The Broadcast.

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