A Match to a Blasty Bough: How FFAW-Unifor confronted power and shared the wealth


The fishery defines the culture and heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. But historically, it was merchants who wielded power and reaped the bounty created by workers.

This changed in 1971 when a group of dedicated people created what was then known simply as the Fishermen’s Union. Their goal—which was derided as idealistic and doomed to failure—was to change the power structure of the fishing industry to ensure workers could finally obtain their rightful share of the wealth.

But the naysayers were wrong, and the union has survived market crashes, industry restructuring, divisive corporate campaigns, scandalous levels of foreign overfishing, and devastating fish stock collapses.

Earle McCurdy, who spent most of his career with the FFAW-Unifor, has been at the center for many of the union’s important battles. Drawing on personal experience, as well as dozens of interviews and extensive research, McCurdy tells the compelling true story of challenge and triumph.

Author Bio

Earle McCurdy

Earle McCurdy served twenty-one years as president of FFAW-Unifor. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and raised in St. John’s, McCurdy began his career as a journalist with the Evening Telegram newspaper before joining the union in the 1970s.

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