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Cleary concerned about delays in union bid

FISH-NL reached its GoFundMe goal to raise $16,000 after five days Wednesday afternoon. FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said the breakaway group continues to receive support from around the province.
Ryan Cleary

FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary says he is worried that a change in handlers for the would-be union’s Labour Relations Board bid will set the process back months.

Jody Saunders, deputy CEO of the Labour Relations Board, was assigned to investigate FISH-NL’s certification bid in its attempt to become a fully realized union.

A fish harvester found out online that before Saunders joined the Labour Relations Board in 2012, she had been disciplined by the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006.

Cleary says FISH-NL brought the concerns to Labour Relations Board CEO Glenn Branton, at which point Saunders “voluntarily offered to step aside from the file.”

Cleary says the process so far has already dragged on and will now get longer.

“This entire situation is a nightmare,” wrote Cleary in a news release.

“The process of reviewing our application has already taken far too long and now it will most definitely take even longer.”

The original application to the Labour Relations Board was submitted on Dec.  30, 2016.

FISH-NL is trying to become certified as a union to represent fish harvesters in the province. A list of 6,372 names of fish harvesters in the province was provided to the Labour Relations Board by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in mid-October.

On top of concerns with who is overseeing the bid, Cleary says the list provided is either incomplete or inaccurate.

 “This process is ludicrous,” said Cleary.

“The labour board’s list of harvesters is also grossly inaccurate — including harvesters who’ve retired, sold out or are deceased — and then on top of that there are names of people who’ve never fished.”

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