In 1947, reduction herring fish harvesters decided to form a Herring Welfare Fund. In 1948, the Pilchard and Herring Fishermen and Tendermen Welfare Fund was created to ensure that the commercial fish harvesters, tendermen and their families had a benefit plan that would help them financially for medical expenses.
The Salmon Welfare Fund was created In 1949 by the Native Brotherhood of B.C., the Union and vessel owners. The Tendermen’s Welfare Fund was first negotiated in 1954.
In 1957, the halibut fleet created the Longliner Welfare Fund. The LWF was funded by contributions specified in the Longline Agreements between the UFAWU and the Vessel Owners Association and between the UFAWU and BC Packers and other fish companies.
By 1969, fish harvesters decided to amalgamate the Pilchard & Herring Welfare Fund, the Salmon Welfare Fund and the Longliners Welfare Funds to form the “United Fishermen’s Welfare Fund.” In 1984, the Fund was renamed the “United Fishermen’s Benefit Fund.”
The Fund remains under the direction of trustees elected by UFAWU-Unifor, the Native Brotherhood of B.C. and the Canoe Pass Co-op.
The Benefit Fund is paid for by contributing fish buyers who pay 2.5 cents per pound of sockeye and 2 cents per pound of pink salmon delivered by all the company’s fishermen into the fund.
Before, the vast majority of fish companies (Ocean, BCP, Seafoods, etc.) were signatory to the union and paid into the fund. Now, only CFC, JS McMillan, and Canoe Pass Co-op pay into the fund, so only herring and salmon net fish harvesters who sell the majority of their catch to these contributing companies and who are members of the union, Native Brotherhood, Canoe Pass Co-op and Vessel Owners Association are covered.
At one time, most salmon net fish harvesters had coverage. When fish harvesters speak in a united voice and compel their buyers to pay into the Benefit Fund, all fish harvesters can be covered once again.
If you think that your fish buyer would contribute to the Benefit Fund so that their fish harvesters could be covered, contact UFAWU-Unifor.
Non-agreement fish harvesters can also be covered under certain conditions. Call the Fishermen’s Benefit Fund or UFAWU-Unifor for details. In general, members of the union or the Native Brotherhood of B.C. in groundfish trawl, hake, halibut, shrimp, prawn, shellfish and rockfish hook-and-line fisheries who pay an annual fee can obtain benefits from the Benefit Fund. The annual fee applies in all fisheries except net salmon and herring where benefits are covered by a negotiated per-pound contribution paid by the contributing company.
For more information on benefits, use the links below:
Fishermen and Tendermen Honourary Members and Registered Retired Members
If you have retired, are 60 years or older and have after 10 years of continuous UFAWU membership, you can apply for your Honourary Membership within 1 year of retiring.
UFAWU-Unifor Honourary Membership Dues are $36 per year.
One of the Benefits of being an Honourary Tenderman Member is your eligibility for retirement benefits from the United Fishermen’s Benefit Fund.
Go to the United Fishermen’s Benefits page to see Retired Members Benefits.
Retired members pay an annual fee for dental, extended health, hospital, travel assistance and funeral benefits.
A member shall remain eligible for benefits after retirement where:
The member retires at the age of 60 or older from the fishing industry.
Been a member of the Fund and eligible for benefits for 10 of the 12 years previous to retirement.
Remains retired from gainful employment.
Continues to pay membership dues to the UFAWU-Unifor, the NBBC or the FVOA and the Fund is so notified.
Pays an annual fee of $375 for benefits for the member only and $750 for the member, spouse and/or eligible dependents.
For more information on benefits available to Honourary Members and Registered Retired Members, use the links below: