The family of a fisherman who was killed in a car crash last week says they are being denied a $30,000 benefit because his union card expired the day before he died.
Calvin Tobin was just 25 when he died in the crash near Clarenville on Aug. 1.
Now his family is fighting to collect his life insurance policy, which they say is being held up by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW).
Tobin was 24 hours overdue on union fees when doctors were trying to save his life.
“For the sake of one day really … they are refusing to pay out his benefits,” said Richard Brewer, Tobin’s uncle.
Brewer’s wife, CarolAnn, was designated as Tobin’s next of kin. The couple played a large role in raising the young man, whose mother died shortly after childbirth.
The money would have gone to help Tobin’s grandparents, who live on a meager income from their old age pensions, Brewer said.
‘Even if you hated him, you had to love him.’
– Richard Brewer
On Monday morning, the Brewers buried their nephew in Southern Harbour and led the funeral procession with his casket being towed behind their ATV.
“It was how he would have wanted it done,” CarolAnn Brewer said through sobs.
More than 50 cars followed behind the casket — a huge gathering for a town of 300 people.
“Calvin was liked by everyone,” Brewer said, noting Tobin could be a mischievous kid. “Even if you hated him, you had to love him.”
After burying his nephew, Brewer said he has to battle with the union — of which he is also a member — to get what the family feels it is owed.
“And I’m not getting nowhere with them,” Brewer said.
‘Good standing’ expired July 31
While the union would not comment on Tobin’s specific case, it did send information on its insurance policy to CBC News on Monday evening.
Members who have paid their dues for the previous year are issued a union card that covers them from Aug. 1 to July 31.
If Tobin had not paid in full for 2016, his union card would not be renewed on Aug. 1 — the day of his fatal accident.
When Tobin was declared dead in the early hours of Aug. 2, he was 33 hours past the end of his coverage by the FFAW insurance policy provided by Sun Life…