Forest fire worker and OPSEU/SEFPO Local 703 Vice-President Noah Freedman from Sioux Lookout and OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick spoke to Amanda Pfeffer on CBC Radio 1’s Ontario Today about this year’s unprecedented wildfire season and the austerity politics that have led to a poorly resourced wildfire management program.
Noah and JP spoke about the poor wages, low morale and high turnover in Ontario’s Aviation, Forest Fires and Emergency Services (AFFES). Noah pointed out that because of job misclassification, forest fire workers lack danger pay. He also mentioned the lack of standby pay – when workers are out sleeping on a fire but aren’t compensated – and the fact that many forest fire workers lose money in a wildfire season because of sky-high out-of-pocket expenses like food and accommodations.
You’ll also hear from Karen who works in logistics at the Sudbury base who spoke about the lack of experienced crew members leading to progressively worse injuries and the very real risk of fatalities as we’ve seen in BC and the Northwest Territories.
Forest fire workers are putting their lives on the line to keep us and our communities safe.
Show your support for them by sending a message to Doug Ford and your MPP demanding that forest fire workers get the fair wages and respect that they deserve: https://opseu.org/ontario-is-burning/