Vancouver Firefighters Collective Agreement

Posted: October 13, 2021 in Uncategorized

George A. Richardson, an 18-year-old local member present at the IAFF Foundation, served for 36 years as IAFF Treasurer in Washington D.C and remains the IAFF`s longest-serving senior officer. We must not forget that Canadian firefighters have helped make this strong organization what it is today. During its long collaboration with IAFF, Local 18 has become a leader in collective bargaining, improving occupational health and safety, training initiatives, representing workers` interests, staffing and response times to more than 70,000 annual emergency calls. Our union membership has changed over time and now more accurately reflects the diversity of the city, including women and men from different cultures and backgrounds. This has made our union stronger and more responsive to the community we serve. While the faces of our members have changed, our knowledge of our traditions and culture and our strong desire to protect our city have remained the same. Throughout our proud history, Local 18 has partnered with IAFF to set public safety standards across North America by participating in national and provincial legislative arenas, political actions, and health and safety standards, including the National Fire Protection Association. Fire safety and fire awareness save lives, and 18 local members strongly support standards for public safety and for all professional firefighters. More recently, Local 18 has been the leader in promoting and enthroneing presumptive cancer legislation and the utility of public servants in public safety. Since the 1886 fire that destroyed the city, Vancouver has become one of the most complex tower and upper town urban cities on our continent, which in the last century includes firefighters South Vancouver, Point Grey and University Endowment Lands. The 18 local firefighters protected Vancouver`s 44 square miles during its long-standing growth and will continue to ensure its strong professional presence as Vancouver grows into this new millennium. Local 18 has helped establish a public training program at the CPR and members support many rewarding charities through their Vancouver Firefighters` Charitable Society.

Eighteen local members designed and produced the Hall of Flame Fire Fighters Charity Calendar, now in its 31st year of publication. Revenue from calendar sales is responsible for purchasing over $1,000,000 for various nonprofits such as the CKNW Orphan`s Fund, BC Children`s Hospital, BC Professional Fire Fighters` Burn Fund and more. Most importantly, Local 18 engages with those who engage with the public – the 775 men and women who make up the Local 18 Fire Fighters. Our local full-service union is associated with the Canadian Congress of Labour, the BC Federation of Labour, the Vancouver and District Labour Council and the BC Professional Fire Fighters` Association and engages on issues affecting their members on a daily basis. Vancouver firefighters first formed a union in 1911 at a time when firefighters were working under a continuous service system. This meant a 24-hour day with three hours off for meals and only one day off in seven. They agreed to end this first attempt at organization shortly afterwards in exchange for a much-needed wage increase. Five years later, in 1916, Vancouver was the eighteenth firefighter in North America to organize, receive a charter from the American Federation of Labor, and become Canada`s first firefighters` union. After the end of a long negotiation in 1917 by a strike, the new union was able to secure a day off with the savings made through the advent of full motorization and the sale of its steamers and horses.

On February 28, 1918, Vancouver firefighters were the only Canadians among a series of unionized firefighters to gather from across the continent for the International Association of Fire Fighters.

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