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Ontario’s first volunteer firefighters’ union affiliates with CLAC

Local 911 bargains with city

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

HAMILTON, Ontario - The amalgation of area municipalities with the City of Hamilton has been a headache for volunteer firefighters who were left to deal with a new employer. Pressured to join the city’s firefighter’s union IAFF, the volunteers soon discovered that the union frowns upon the use of volunteers. The firefighters group first organized an independent union and then unanimously affiliated with the Christian Labour Association of Canada, CLAC.

The volunteers’ union approached the 50-year-old Dutch-immigrant founded CLAC to give them access to experience, expertise and resources in dealing with the city which is unfamiliar in dealing with volunteer workers. The new CLAC affiliates have been received as Local 911. Within two days, CLAC representatives were meeting with the employer.

The CLAC has embarked on efforts to organize firefighters in other areas of Ontario as well.

The Christian union was founded in February 1952 when agents of the Dutch labour union CNV helped immigrants in Canada to organize the first locals. It was not until the 1963 that the Ontario Labour Relations Board was ordered by the Supreme Court of Ontario to register the CLAC as a union. The CLAC membership since has climbed to 28,000.