CAW to Appear Before Standing Committee to Demand Action on Lobster Crisis in Atlantic Provinces

May 13, 2009, 5:00 PM EST

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CAW/FFAW President Earle McCurdy will be traveling from Newfoundland to Ottawa on May 14 to appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Fisheries & Oceans demanding action to deal with the lobster crisis in Atlantic Canada.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said that McCurdy has the full support of the 225,000 member union as the CAW/FFAW strives to get a fair deal for those working in the lobster sector.

McCurdy will be making his presentation to the Committee at 11:00 a.m. in Room 371 in the West Block. Representatives of fish harvester organizations in Quebec and the Maritime provinces have also been invited.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said that the drop in both crab and lobster prices is having a terrible impact on those who work in these industries in the Atlantic provinces.

"While we often hear about workers in the auto, steel, forestry and other hard hit sectors, we rarely hear about the plight of workers in the maritime provinces who have long grappled with the rises and falls of the fishing industry," said Lewenza. "Their hardship is every bit as dire as the hardship suffered by workers who are forced out of their jobs in central Canada and must be taken seriously by all levels of government."

The Standing Committee meeting will be held as lobster harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador begin a four day tie-up in protest against collapsing lobster prices.

McCurdy noted that a statement released yesterday by P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz "is a good starting point."  Premier Ghiz said P.E.I. and Ottawa had reached agreement on a comprehensive $8 to $10 million aid package for the P.E.I. lobster sector.

The CAW expects that the federal government would make any new programs on the lobster sector Atlantic wide, since the impact is spread right across the region.

CAW/FFAW launched the tie-up in this province after prices dropped an average of 60 cents to $3.00 a pound, the lowest prices in at least 25 years.  The CAW/ FFAW represents 20,000 working women and men through out Newfoundland and Labrador.

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