It is with great sadness that the CCU must report that Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL (Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters – Newfoundland and Labrador), announced this week that FISH-NL is ending its membership drive below the required number of signatures for certification.
Cleary made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday, alongside FISH-NL Vice President Peter Leonard and Secretary-Treasurer Jason Sullivan.
Read the special message from Ryan to the CCU below:
Good Day Brothers and Sisters,
I never felt comfortable using the terms “brothers and sisters” — even as an NDP Member of Parliament — until I started dealing with you mainland crowd.
On behalf of FISH-NL, I could never express the appreciation for the support you’ve showed us over the past three years.
When FISH-NL was at our lowest, you gave us a hand up, and made us believe that all things labour were possible.
I still believe that, but FISH-NL has come to an end. We are cancelling our drive and dissolving.
While we collected more cards than our 2016 membership drive, we are not close to the 4,000 cards need to trigger a vote for inshore harvesters to choose their union representation.
The simple fact of the matter is the definition of an inshore harvester — who’s eligible to sign a card — was so loose that, in the end, we were dealing with phantom fishermen.
Shutting down the drive, and FISH-NL, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do — leaving thousands of inshore harvesters without representation.
But we gave it every thing we had. Maybe this latest move in itself will be a wake-up call to harvesters, the media, and the powers that be that the NL fishery is desperate for change.
Again, I want to thank each and every one of your for the support you’ve shown. It meant more to me personally than I have the power to express.
Your East Coast brothers and sisters will never forget.
In Solidarity Forever,