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Rosemère firemen’s union vows to put up a fight

Create: 03/21/2016 - 20:40

Reacting to the Town of Rosemère’s sudden decision to close its fire department, the union representing the firefighters, TUAC (Travailleurs et travailleuses unis de l’alimentation et du commerce) local 501, issued the following statement last week.
“It was with the greatest astonishment that the 38 firefighters with the municipality of Rosemère learned Monday evening that they were terminated and that this change was effective immediately,” they said.
Union’s position
“Represented since 1995 by TUAC [also known as United Food and Commercial Workers], the firefighters of Rosemère denounce the bad faith of the employer at the negotiation table since based on all evidence the latter knew it had no intention of coming to an agreement.”
“While the negotiation committee was looking for solutions to sign a new collective agreement, the municipality of Rosemère negotiated in catimini [rather quietly] the dismantlement of its firehall with the municipality of Blainville,” said TUAC local 501 president Alain Lachaine.
May seek legal recourse
“This is unacceptable. The firefighters are determined to fight to uphold their rights and we will be at their sides all through the process. Our lawyers are currently analyzing the options to fall back on which the workers are entitled to.”
On Saturday last weekend, TUAC 501 held an information gathering in the parking lot outside the Metro supermarket in downtown Rosemère on Grande Côte Rd. “There wasn’t a word said on the outcome we now see during a year of negotiation,” Lachaine maintained to journalists. The firefighters made their way through the streets of Rosemère to gather residents’ signatures on a petition questioning the wisdom of the fire department’s sudden closure.
Former mayoralty candidate
Among the Rosemère residents who turned up for the information session was former mayoralty candidate Sylvain Arsenault. “As I’ve always said, I think that the present administration runs things like a dictatorship,” he said.
“There’s no opposition and they take unilateral decisions without taking into account collateral damage. I felt it important to come out and support the firefighters today to see how this decision might be changed so that these people can continue to work and take care of their families.”
Town denounces union tactics
On Sunday last weekend, Rosemère town council issued a statement of its own, in which it claimed the firefighters were needlessly spreading fear among residents about inadequate fire security coverage and that they were using this as a pretext to get residents to sign the petition.
“It is completely irresponsible to say to the residents that they lives are at risk to get them to sign a petition,” Mayor Madeleine Leduc said. “It is all important to stick to the facts in this dossier – we cannot play with the feelings of security of our residents: it’s unacceptable.”

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Martin C. Barry