Strike Leader Says Renegade Boat Owners Have Agreed To Fishermen’s Terms
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) _ A leader of striking fishermen alleged Thursday that a number of boat owners have broken away from their group to sign a contract rejected by the owners’ group earlier this month.
Strike leader Jack Caffrey refused to say how many boat owners had signed the rejected pact or who the owners were.
Dave Barnet, attorney for the boat owners association, said he was not aware of any defections from the owners group.
Officials from each side have met with federal mediator Austin Skinner at his request over the past two days to talk about getting stalled negotiations back on track.
But Caffrey said he quashed any hopes of talks as long as boat owners insisted upon the same contract proposals fishermen have already turned down. ″Obviously, they’re not ready to bargain,″ he said.
Fishermen, on strike since Dec. 27, are fighting with boat owners over the split of proceeds from the sale of fish.
Owners say they want to divide proceeds evenly, but fishermen say they want to keep about 60 percent of the money made from each trip, the percentage set under the contract that expired in March.
The fishermen’s latest proposal, the one allegedly accepted by some boat owners, raises the owners’ share by one percentage point, Caffrey said.
Pickets were peaceful Thursday as they marched in freezing weather before the warehouse where dealers bought fish caught by two boats, said Officer Raymond Furtado, spokesman for New Bedford police.
At City Hall, Solicitor Rosalyn Brooker said she was putting ″finishing touches″ on a request for an injunction she plans to file Friday in Bristol Superior Court against 30 boat owners and captains who have sold their fish at the warehouse auctions.
The private auctions, the first outside the city’s public auction house in 60 years, violate a city ordinance that prohibits boats from unloading any fish not sold through the public auction, Ms. Brooker said. She said she expected a hearing on the injunction next week.