Wednesday, December 9, 2015

UFAWU leadership speaks to City Council seeking support on fishery issues

Prince Rupert City Council members received a fairly extensive history lesson on Monday evening, as two members of the local leadership for UFAWU/Unifor appeared at Council to seek the city's support on issues related to the recent closure of canning lines at Prince Rupert's Canadian Fish plant.

Prior to the presentation, Councillors Thorkelson and Mirau excused themselves from the Council chambers citing a potential conflict related to the discussion.

With a number of UFAWU members in the public gallery, Arnold Nagy and Conrad Lewis spoke for close to one hour on Monday, recounting for Council some of the past when it comes to the importance that the fishing industry and processing jobs in the city have had for the community.

Both UFAWU members traced some of the changes that they have seen in the industry first from the days of BC Packers and then as the Jim Pattison company Canadian Fish took over the majority of fishing operations in the community.

Council also heard of the impact that the job losses to the union's  estimate of 500 members would not only affect the union membership and workers from the Oceanside plant on George Hills Way, but also have an affect on a number of secondary businesses in the community that received work as part of plant requirements.

They noted that with such a large loss of jobs the potential exists for another large exodus of residents from the region, calling to mind the days following the closure of the pulp mill as a form of comparison.

As they wrapped up their review of the current situation, which they suggested could see up to 500 workers without work, they asked for the support of the City of Prince Rupert in an approach the union is taking to the Federal Government.

Asking Council to support their moves to have the Department of Fisheries put in place some regulations currently used in the East Coast Fishery, noting of the three key elements of the policy of:

Adjacency, Owner Operator provisions and Fleet separation.

To close the presentation to Council, the UFAWU delegation noted that the City of Prince Rupert  would not be supporting the union, but rather providing support to Prince Rupert residents.

You can review the full presentation from the UFAWU members from the City's Video Archive, it starts at the two hour and two minute mark and continues through until just before the three hour point.

More background on the presentation to Council can be found on City Council Timeline.

For more items related to the Fishing industry on the North Coast, including background on the Canadian Fish announcement of November see our archive page here.

More background on City Council Discussions from Monday evening can be found on our archive page here.

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