New Contract Means Sudbury Volunteer Firefighters Will Keep Their Jobs
/ Author: CLAC Staff
/ Categories: Local 920, Ratifications /
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New Contract Means Sudbury Volunteer Firefighters Will Keep Their Jobs

Sudbury, ON—The City of Sudbury and its volunteer firefighters have reached a settlement after more than a year of contentious bargaining, which saw the volunteer force fighting for its existence. The volunteers voted 83 percent in favour of the new three-year collective agreement, which is retroactive to January 1, 2017, and expires on December 31, 2019.

The previous contract expired at the end of 2016, and the bargaining process was preempted for a long time as city councillors grappled with a controversial “fire optimization plan.” It proposed closing 10 fire halls, reducing the number of volunteer firefighters, and hiring 58 new full-time firefighters.

“The past number of years have been very challenging for volunteer firefighters here in the city,” says Gord O’Coin, representative for the Ontario Volunteer Firefighters Association, CLAC Local 920. “In 2017, everything seemed to point to the end of the volunteer department as we knew it. However, after going through all these challenges, the volunteer firefighters and fire department are now stronger than ever and we look forward to the future.”

The firefighters’ priority during negotiations was to enhance the recruitment, retention, and training of volunteers. Addressing these issues ensures the citizens of Sudbury have the protection they deserve. 

Some of the highlights of the new agreement include

  • volunteers are able to train at the city-owned fire grounds in Azilda,
  • an increase in the paid hours for officers to complete their administrative duties,
  • postings for captains’ positions within halls that either did not have any officers or very few officers,
  • enhancements to personal protective equipment for the volunteer firefighters, and
  • a nominal retention bonus for volunteers who continue to serve their community for five years or more.

“We are moving forward, and that is great for the volunteer firefighters and the citizens of the Greater City of Sudbury,” O’Coin says.

 


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