Sudbury volunteer firefighters get 'respect' with new contract

Greater Sudbury's newly unionized volunteers firefighters are going to cost the city about $100,000 more per year— but their 'pay' won't go up
Greater Sudbury's 350 volunteer firefighters have ratified their first union contract. While their pay won't go up, the costs for taxpayers will.

Greater Sudbury's newly unionized volunteers firefighters are going to cost the city about $100,000 more per year.

The 350 members of the Christian Labour Association of Canada ratified their first contract last week.

The volunteer firefighters receive an average honorarium of $2,600 per year, an amount that won’t change under the new contract.

Union rep Ian DeWaard said unionizing the volunteers was not about paycheques.

"I don't think any of our members would see this as a part-time job,” he said.

“What they're excited about is that the city has increased the amount of training that will occur or can occur."

The volunteer firefighters will also get more opportunity to be paid for doing fire prevention public education work, in addition to having their uniforms paid for by the city.

City human resources manager Kevin Fowke said it was clear during contract talks that this was not about making volunteer firefighting into a job.

"This was not particularly a monetary set of negotiations, for us, as we learned about it and what the issues were,” he said. “It was really about respect."

The new volunteer firefighter contract is for three years.


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