ASP responds to Fogo Coop membership in Association

May 11, 2010 10:44

The Association of Seafood Producers released a statement addressing accusations they are being heavy-handed and were punishing Fogo for buying crab during the recent shutdown in that fishery over price disputes, reports with reference to Association of Seafood Producers. 

Derek Butler, Executive Director of the Association, says the whole thing is easily understood and defensible.

"This is about our association having objectives, goals, working like any association. And either we all work towards those goals, and we strive to make this industry work better for everyone, or we don't," said Butler. "It's something every association faces."

Butlers says under ASP's bylaws member-producers also assign their bargaining rights to ASP when they join the association, but Fogo has decided to do their own thing with respect to collective bargaining.

Ultimately, Butler says, any producer member can conduct themselves as they wish, and Fogo clearly could do as they pleased. But when their actions impacted back on the Association's efforts, it undermined ASP's goals, and lead to the recent decision, says Butler.

"If you join the choir, you sing from the same hymnal," said Butler. "If someone wants to be a member of ASP, we are like any membership-driven organization: you are expected to pull on the same oar, in the same direction. And if a given producer decides they want to go their own way, they should have the self-respect to show themselves to the door, or be asked to leave."

Butler says Fogo even suggested themselves they might leave the Association in meetings earlier in the spring, and eventually the Membership and Board decided their leaving was for the best.

"It is my call as the head of the Association, and our membership and our board, to evaluate whether at some point members are working in support of the Association's goals and our attempts to affect public policy, collective bargaining and deal with some pretty serious issues, or against us. We have had members come and go in the past, and we will again, I am sure," said Butler.

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