Organized on August 16, 1875, the Columbia River Fisherman’s Beneficial Aid Society‘s main purposes were to establish rules regarding the drifting grounds and boundaries for Columbia River gillnet fishermen and to establish insurance so that the widows of fishermen who died as a result of their occupation would receive a death benefit.
Renamed the Columbia River Fisherman’s Protective Union (CRFPU) in 1879, the union soon began organizing to push for better working conditions and higher fish prices.
After packers reneged on fish prices agreed upon in settling a 1896 CRPFU strike, two hundred fishermen formed the Union Fisherman’s Cooperative Packing Company. The packing company, until it was sold to Peter Pan Seafoods in 1950, supported developing hatchery programs, rehabilitating fish runs, reducing pollution, and promoting research in the preparation of new fisheries products.
The former Union Fish cannery in Astoria, Oregon is now the Cannery Pier Hotel.