Volunteer firefighters in Sudbury vote in favour of unionizing

Sudbury firefighters look to be represented by CLAC

Greater Sudbury’s volunteer firefighters have voted 85 per cent in favour of joining a union.

The 328 volunteer firefighters, who work in Sudbury, Ont., and outerlying areas, will become members of the Eastern Ontario Volunteer Firefighters Association Local 920 of the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC).

CLAC also represents firefighters in other cities across the province, including Hamilton, Belleville and Midland, Ont.

CLAC representative Carla Geldof told the CBC the volunteer workers technically have the right to strike, but that strikes would be unlikely from the group, as they have a "huge sense of commitment" to their community.

Though they are referred to as volunteer workers, they are paid a wage per hour while on a call or during training. The term volunteer refers to the fact that their work is unscheduled.

The vote is up for review and certification by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Greater Sudbury's Fire Services Division is made up of 107 career staff and 350 volunteer workers. The department responds to about 4,600 emergency calls per year.

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