The IAFF is proud to announce that the members of the Montreal Firefighters Association have voted – overwhelming by 80 percent – to reaffiliate with the IAFF.
“Welcome back – bienvenue! – to our Montreal brothers and sisters,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “Together, we are stronger.”
Ronald Martin, head of the Montreal Firefighters Association, expresses, on behalf of the executive board, that he is extremely happy with the results, especially the large show of support. “We look forward to rapidly working together with our new partners,” he says.
The vote, which came after three years of discussions with the Montreal Firefighters Association Executive Board and meetings to learn more about the vast range of services available to leaders and members, brings more than 2,400 members back into this union as part of the 15th District alongside 14 other locals in eastern Canada.
Montreal fire fighters are mainly French-speaking, and the IAFF already offers some French-language services through the Canadian office in Ottawa, and is developing more services to meet the needs of our newest local.
The Montreal fire fighters’ union first joined the IAFF in 1918 as Local 125, but left in 1931, then re-joined the IAFF in 1948 before disaffiliating again in 1974. The Montreal Firefighters Association hosted the 6th IAFF Convention in 1923 and the 23rd IAFF Convention in 1956.
Even though they have been out of the IAFF for many years, our union has maintained open communications with Montreal Firefighters Association leaders and in recent years cultivated an ongoing relationship. Montreal union leaders visited IAFF headquarters twice since 2015 to learn more about IAFF services, and have attended the annual Canadian Legislative Conference since 2010 as paying guests to increase our voice during our annual lobby and to ensure Quebec MPs are met with on fire fighter legislative priorities.
In addition, General President Schaitberger and other IAFF officials visited Montreal on July 12 and spoke directly to Montreal fire fighters at two general membership sessions. The presentations were also broadcast online.
Schaitberger says, “It is appropriate that we will be celebrating our 100th anniversary next year with one of our original locals organized in 1918.”
With the choice to reaffiliate now made, the IAFF and the Montreal Firefighters Association will sit down together to complete the reaffiliation process. With Montreal fire fighters back in the IAFF, along with the pending development of more IAFF services in French, we open the door to uniting other fire fighter unions in the province of Quebec.