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Our History

The UFAWU has represented fishing industry workers and fishermen since 1945.

The Union began when a number of fishermen's organizations decided to join together to become stronger and to have more influence. They became the United Fishermen's Federal Union (UFFU).

In 1945, the UFFU joined with the Fish Cannery, Reduction Plant and Allied Workers' Union and the first convention of the new United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union was held.

The Union is involved in countless campaigns. It was instrumental in winning EI and WCB coverage for fishermen, worked with the federal and provincial governments to establish halibut, salmon, international fisheries treaties, and negotiated share agreements for the halibut, trawl, herring and salmon big boat fleets and price agreements for the salmon net fleet. The Union negotiates Shoreworkers and Tendermen‘s collective agreements for many plants. Safety at sea and onshore are focal points for the UFAWU-Unifor.

Many changes have occurred over the years and the Union has adapted to respond effectively. The devolution of the A license to many licences, Mifflin, area licensing, quotas and stacking have chopped the fleet into many different factions and more than halved the number of fishermen. Fish management changes and the growth of the sports sector have lowered harvests. Companies rationalized and consolidated and plants have closed — decimating the number of Union Shoreworkers.

The Union, in response, joined with the CAW and then with Unifor — a 310,000-member strong union. The Newfoundland fishing industry union, NFFAW-Unifor is our sister union in Unifor. Fishermen and Shoreworkers can talk about policy coast to coast.

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© UFAWU-Unifor 2023