After his defeat in 1968 he practised law and won a significant settlement for Placentia Bay fishermen who were suing the Electric Reduction Co for phosphorus-based destruction of their fish. In 1970 he joined with Father Desmond McGrath, a former St Francis Xavier University classmate, to help organize the Fishermen's Union. After major victories over the fishing companies at Burgeo in 1972 and in the trawlermen's strike of 1975, the union fully established itself. Now the biggest union in Newfoundland by far, the Newfoundland Fishermen, Food and Allied Workers' Union is a major political force.
Cashin supported NDP candidates in the mid-1970s but joined the National Unity Task Force and the board of Petro-Canada in 1977. In the 1980s, however, he has led the NFFAWU into full support of the NDP and is himself a party vice-president. The union has also been very active in the Coalition for Equality, a broad coalition of labour and other progressive groups. In spring 1987 he led the union out of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union into the new Canadian Auto Workers. Cashin was founder of the Fishermen, Food and Allied Workers' Union and its president from 1971 to 1993. He was chairman of the Task Force on Incomes and Adjustment in the Atlantic Fishery (1992-93). He was chairman of the Task Force on Incomes and Adjustment in the Atlantic Fishery (1992-93) and a member of the National Forum on Health (1994-97). He also became chair of the Fishing Industry Renewal Board and a member of the Canadian Transportation Agency. In 1989 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1992 was named to the Queen's Privy Council of Canada.
Author GREGORY S. KEALEY