The IAFF is celebrating its centennial at the 54th Convention in Seattle with a greater sense of unity.
Taking their place among IAFF fire fighter delegates from across North America are delegates from Montreal, QC Local 125, which reaffiliated in October 2017 after an absence of more than 40 years.
The reaffiliation adds almost 2,400 members from the mainly French-speaking city, and the local is already accessing IAFF services on behalf of its members.
Local 125 President Chris Ross says so far, the local has received a good reception from other locals in Seattle. “The reception has been amazing,” he says. “We’ve been very well-welcomed by every IAFF local that we’ve crossed.”
General President Harold Schaitberger welcomed Local 125 back to the IAFF Convention in his opening address on Monday morning. “Bienvenue chez nous à l’AIP,” he said in French to a warm round of applause from delegates and guests.
Ross is in Seattle with three other executive board members from the Montreal Firefighters Association: Secretary Luc Boisvert, 11th District Director Benoît Deschamps and 9th District Director Marc-André Gosselin.
Ross says that after the re-affiliation, it was important to attend Convention right away and to start participating in the International’s democratic process. “It’s important to be at the table and have a voice,” Ross says, adding that the Montreal delegation has been impressed with the level of organization they have experienced. “It goes above and beyond what we expected.”
The IAFF already has French-speaking staff and resources, and has been busy adding to those resources since the reaffiliation. Three editions of Pompier Trimestriel, a French version of the IAFF’s Fire Fighter Quarterly magazine, have been produced and mailed to Montreal members.