·  Media Release   ·  

Champlain Township Firefighters Join the United Steelworkers

CHAMPLAIN TOWNSHIP, Ont. – Part-time firefighters employed by Champlain Township in eastern Ontario have voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union to improve their working conditions. 

Following a secret-ballot vote supervised by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, approximately 50 volunteer firefighters, based out of the township’s two fire stations in L’Orignal and Vankleek Hill, have officially become USW members. 

In seeking representation from the USW, the firefighters have cited the need to have a meaningful, collective voice in addressing issues and concerns regarding the work they perform. Issues raised by firefighters include health and safety standards and equipment, the level of support for members who have experienced traumatic critical incidents and a lack of communication and responsiveness from township council.

“We tried a couple of times to speak to council at a meeting. They just shut the door on us,” said Jean-François Miner, one of the firefighters who joined the USW.

“We invited them to the fire hall to discuss our issues and no one even showed up. So we decided we needed to have a stronger voice,” said Miner.

Next steps for the firefighters include electing a bargaining committee and negotiating their first collective agreement with the township.

“These firefighters provide vital, life-saving services to their community,” said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

“We welcome these new members to our union and we will support them as they enter into collective bargaining to reach a fair contract that recognizes their skills, their commitment and the crucial work they do,” Warren said.


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, 416-243-8792
Darlene Jalbert, USW District 6 Organizing Co-ordinator, 613-362-4414, djalbert@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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