Vancouver Fire Department Collective Agreement

We are very proud of our more than one hundred years of democratic and parliamentary tradition, which is the heart and soul of our governance. Local 18 shines as a beacon on the west coast of the continent. Firefighters were here during Pioneer Days, and firefighters are here in the presence of our modern technological society. Firefighters will continue to be here, as the citizens of the City of Vancouver move towards a future where they will certainly need enhanced and ongoing protection against Local 18. May this future remain proud for all. It is important to remember that the benefits we have reaped in terms of wages, social benefits and our standard of living are because we have remained united in the trade union tradition. It`s too easy to forget how far we`ve gone from permanent use and without personal protective equipment to current working conditions, including our high and increasingly high safety standards. These achievements have not been given to us, but obtained through the efforts of dedicated and self-taught members who aspire to professional standards and respect. These union members have been driven by a strong moral code, which works selflessly for the good of all firefighters and leaves no member behind. 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 come together from across the continent to join the International Association of Fire Fighters. Local 18 and IAFF are proud of their long connection across the continent and the international border. 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. 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.

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…