Sent Via Email
I am writing on behalf of 315,000 Unifor members across Canada and our entire national leadership team to commit the full support of the national union in your campaign to secure federal support for the more than 7,500 people impacted by the collapse in the snow crab fishery.
We know this request is not due to the seven-week tie-up, but rather in response to greater market forces over which workers had no control. With the multitude of crises hitting simultaneously – from lingering impacts from Covid-19 to the Russia/Ukraine conflict – fish harvesters, fishery workers, and enterprise owners need the support of the federal government to sustain what is a lucrative and essential sector in Newfoundland and Labrador.
After snow crab suffered a market price drop of more than 70% from 2022, harvesters are facing a 70% decrease in income. It is clear they need help to make it to next year.
We know all too well that coastal communities rely on this sector to sustain families and small businesses and that the province relies on the considerable economic value this sector generates. Newfoundland and Labrador is unique in its reliance on the snow crab fishery compared to other provinces where lobster is their bread and butter.
In times of crisis, we have turned to creative measures to support people in need. We have bridged the gap before when faced with anomalous market forces, natural disasters, and other unforeseen events. This is the time to act to support the inshore fishery in your province.
We stand with you as you present a reasonable path forward that will simplify support from the federal government and bridge fish harvesters, fishery workers, and enterprise owners through to the next season with dignity. Your modest proposal of $100 million is a fair request to help thousands of people maintain their employment in the fishery. And while this grant program is not designed to replace EI, which workers would still apply for where they can within the existing system, it would succeed at protecting the investments, the licenses, gear, vessels, the human capital and the skilled fishery workers until next season when we hope prices will start to turn around.
Unifor commits to sharing your campaign far and wide among its membership and to urge all members to sign the letter of support for FFAW-Unifor members.
Thank you for your commitment to supporting fish harvesters, fishery workers and enterprise owners. We stand beside you all the way.
Unifor National President
Unifor Atlantic Regional Director