During a plenary session at 10:45 this Wednesday morning, the 33rd CUPE Quebec Convention voted unanimously and very enthusiastically to create a 12th sector to be known as the fire service sector. As a result, the thousands of firefighters with the union representing Quebec firefighters (SPQ), who are joining the ranks of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, will have their own voice during proceedings.
“As we see it, this is the culmination of the extraordinary welcome we have received from CUPE since we decided to join its ranks. It represents a page in the history of the SPQ that dates back to 1945 when it was founded. The idea is to give us the tools to defend the working conditions of Quebec firefighters, further develop occupational health and safety and improve service to the public,” explained SPQ President Stéphane Chartrand.
“Other issues pose numerous challenges. For example, there’s a fight under way to recognize cancers affecting firefighters, which dramatically reduce their life expectancy. There’s also a need for part-time firefighters to receive continuous training, not just at the front end. However, now that we’ve joined CUPE, we’re in a great organization that will provide us with new strengths that will further advance our cause,” added Chartrand.
“In the convention hall this morning, we witnessed a heartfelt impetus to extend a full-fledged welcome to our new firefighter members. Their sense of duty and community, their willingness to improve the world around them, their passion for protecting the public and their members perfectly dovetail with CUPE’s values. The synergy with our various sectors – be it municipal or social affairs – will be extremely positive,” said CUPE Quebec President Patrick Gloutney.