- Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) Union is a
trade unionin Newfoundland and Labradorthat represents 20,000 workers. Most of the members are in the fishing industry but the FFAW also has organized workers in the hotel, hospitality, brewing, metal fabrication, window manufacturing and oil industries in the province. The FFAW is the largest private sector union in Newfoundland and is affiliated with the Canadian Auto Workersunion.
It was organized in 1970 as the Fishermen's Union by Father
Desmond McGrathand Richard Cashinin order to organize fishplant workers who, at the time, were exempt from the province's minimum wageand were thus paid sub-minimum wages. In 1971 the union led a recognition strikein Burgeoafter a majority of workers there signed union cards but the plant owner refused to recognize the union. After a strike lasting several months the plant was nationalized by the provincial government and a collective bargaining agreementwas signed by it and the union. In 1971, as the result of pressure from the FFAW Newfoundland became the first Canadian provinceto recognize the collective bargainingrights of fishery workers when [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0002834 Fisheries Policy] , "Canadian Encyclopedia"] the Newfoundland House of Assemblypassed the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act which gave inshore fishers the right to negotiate their prices.Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union, [http://www.ffaw.nf.ca/History.asp History: They Said it Couldn't Be Done] , retrieved February 18, 2008]
After several more strikes, most notably against Fishery Products, trawling companies abandoned their insistence on unilaterally setting the price of fish and agreed to negotiated prices with fishermen.
In 1979, under Cashin's leadership, the union established the Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company as a
worker co-operative. It won two fishing licences from the federal government and changed the work lives of fishermen on the Labradorcoast.
By 1977, the union was negotiating province-wide
master contracts with the industry as a whole represented by the Fisheries Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. The union also waged a successful campaign for workers compensationin the fishing industry with a law being passed by the House of Assembly in 1981.
In 1987, the union disaffiliated from the
United Food and Commercial Workersand joined the Canadian Auto Workers.
In 1994, after 23 years as president, Richard Cashin stepped down and was succeeded by
Fisherman's Protective Union
United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union
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