However, UFAWU activists argued that the Co-op's policy to continue fishing during union strikes weakened the union's bargaining position.
In the late 1960s UFAWU organizers were attempting to expand the Union's jurisdiction to include all fishers on both coasts.
In BC, the UFAWU began to organize crews working on longline and trawl vessels in 1966 and by early March of 1967 they believed they were in a position to call a strike for a trawl share-agreement with the vessel owners.
Though the dispute was sparked by the vessel owners' actions, it was initially a jurisdictional conflict between the Deep Sea and the UFAWU over who had the right to represent trawler crews on Co-op vessels.
UFAWU officials reacted to the new agreement, signed just five days after UFAWU trawl crews struck, by calling the Deep Sea "an owner controlled union and the March 22 agreement a 'Sweetheart deal.
36) The Union reaffirmed its stance in a coast-wide ballot on April 3, which "forbade the sending of a UFAWU telegram ordering Prince Rupert shoreworkers to handle 'unfair' vessels" and, on 6 April, the Trawl Strike Committee declared the 28 member vessels of the PRVOA "unfair.
The local newspaper's editorials condemned the UFAWU for being more interested in power than in the conditions of workers.
In the letters to the editor section of The Daily News, one UFAWU supporter argued: "the UFAWU is now, as in the past, taking the long range view of the issues at stake, by endeavouring to protect the economical (sic) standards of its own members.
In the midst of this war of words, Co-op boat owners and crew-members defied UFAWU pickets on 13 April 1967 "to board five trawl vessels, loaded with rotten fish, and sail them to dumping grounds.