Wednesday, November 18, 2015

UFAWU to contact local businesses, take campaign on Canfisco on to Ottawa

UFAWU in Prince Rupert continues
to work on its plans to address the
planned closure of the Canfisco
Canning lines in the city
Almost a week after the shocking announcement of the closure of the Canfisco canning lines, some of the plan of action ahead from the union that represents the shore workers at the Canfisco plant have been outlined.

Over the last few days officials from UFAWU  have outlined some of the immediate steps that they have in mind, as they look to take their message not only to federal officials in Ottawa, but to local residents as well.

A copy of a news release from UFAWU was printed in its entirety by the West Coast Native News and in the document, the union retraced some of the history of past negotiations with Canadian Fish. Noting the view of UFAWU that frequent efforts to try and attract year round employment for the plant had met with little success.

As part of that narrative, there was also a look at some of the other topics that marked those discussions as the years have passed by since 1995, with a past battle over the need for freezer capacity in the community reviewed. In their media release UFAWU offered their viewpoint that Canfisco was more interested in utilizing freezer options in the Vancouver area, than in expanding the capacity options for the North Coast.

That call for a large freezer storage complex for the community has been a frequent refrain from Northern UFAWU rep and City Councillor Joy Thorkelson, who raised the issue more than a few times in the past at Prince Rupert Council sessions.

The full media release provided by the West Coast Native News can be examined here.

When it comes to what the Union has planned in the weeks to come, the executive is preparing to approach both the Provincial and Federal governments, making the procedures of The Adjacency Principle on the Fishery, which is an international commitment that fish should be processed adjacent to areas that they are caught.

That commitment has been cited a number of times in disputes related to the fish plants of Atlantic Canada and an issue that still is bring raised by fish plant unions in Newfoundland to this day.

The theme was one which was raised by NDP MP Nathan Cullen back in September during the course of the most recent Federal election campaign

UFAWU Northern Rep
(and City Councillor)
Joy Thorkelson will be
taking the Canfisco canning
line closure to Halifax
for discussions
In the case of what's ahead for the Prince Rupert plant, UFAWU will be looking towards that principle, to see that fish caught on the North Coast fully processed on the North Coast and not sent to southern plants or overseas for processing.

Those points and others will be raised when UFAWU-Unifor National President, Kim Olsen, and Northern Representative, Joy Thorkelson, leave for Halifax, with a possible side trip also possible for Ottawa, in order to talk to DFO officials and Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo about the Oceanside Cannery closure.

On the UFAWU Prince Rupert Facebook page, the local office was asking for the names of those that were able to help out on the Union's Action Committee, with the first job ahead apparently to be the delivery of a letter to all the businesses in Prince Rupert.

You can find updates from the Facebook page, as they move forward in the efforts of the union as they look to raise awareness of the impact of the closure on the community.

Background on the moves of Canfisco to close the cannery lines, as well as reaction in the community those plans can be reviewed below:

Canfisco to bring an end to Salmon canning operations at Prince Rupert Plant
Canfisco fish plant restructuring plans bring reaction from area politicians
UFAWU vows to fight cannery closure; calls for all levels of government to support Prince Rupert
Canfisco closure raised in Monday session of Legislature

More items on the commercial fishery industry on the North Coast can be found on our archive page.

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