CAW Celebrates 20 Years with the FFAW
August 10, 2007
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St. John's, Nfld.
August 10, 2007
The Canadian Auto Workers union marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the FFAW and its merger with the CAW at its joint council in St. John's Newfoundland August 10, 2007. CAW National President Buzz Hargrove told the delegates that the CAW's unwavering support of the FFAW in it's fight to break away from an American-controlled union set an example for other workers.
CAW National President
"A lot of people in this union today joined us because, not only did we change to a Canadian union we defended the rights of others to set up their own union or join another Canadian union and get away from the dictatorial attitudes coming out of Washington. That's worth more than all the dues our members will pay over the next 20 years."
Richard Cashin, founding president of the FFAW told the delegates of the brutal fight and the ten year court battle and the key role the CAW played in helping the fishers of Newfoundland to break away from the UFCW.
Former CAW/FFAW President
"One thing is certain and I and the Fishermen, Food and Allied Workers union are living proof of it. With the CAW it is not rhetoric, it is principle, it is belief and it is commitment. As I said you paid a hell of a price but you've earned it."
National Secretary Treasurer Jim O'Neil said the decision to support the FFAW was made by the whole union.
CAW National Secretary-Treasurer
"We always went to our executive Board. We always went to a council like this and they always endorsed it. They knew it was going to cost millions of dollars but at the end of the day it was helping out working people here in Newfoundland and the communities."
Former CAW president Bob White recalled the time the national union put up $350,000 in order to arrest a fishing trawler in order to recoup the workers back wages.
Former CAW National President
"It was difficult for our Board but it was an incredible courage of the leadership of Richard and Earle, Father Des McGrath, Reg and others. And we are without a shadow of a doubt a better union today because they made that decision."
While celebrating the anniversary CAW/FFAW president Earle McCurdy is looking to the future and the challenges the fishery faces.
"We still have lots of challenges. The baby boom generation is moving through and there are some really important decisions that have to be made in terms of the administration of the fishery. As to how that generational change is managed, so that the people who are in the fishery in the next generation have a real decent shot at being able to make a good living from it."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."