The people of Calgary have indicated their strong satisfaction for garbage collection services consistently over the past three years. In 1999 the approval rating for garbage collection was 90 percent, 89 percent in 2000 and 91 percent in 2001. Garbage collection has ranked in the top four of City public services over the past three years.
Yet the cost of delivering good service is very high. Twelve month accumulated totals for days lost due to injury indicates that over 2000 days are lost on an annual basis because of injuries sustained by Calgary refuse collectors. There are, on average, 3.25 lost time accidents every month.
The cost to the City is roughly half a million dollars per year in Workers Compensation costs and replacement wages. Refuse collectors suffer back, shoulder and neck injuries from repetitive lifting of loads that are over weight. They also suffer from cuts and needle stick injuries from dangerous waste improperly packaged for pick-up.
CUPE Local 37, representing the City of Calgary refuse collectors wants to do something about the high cost of solid waste management.
Last March, the City of Calgary passed new by-laws limiting the weight of household garbage bags and cans, limiting the size of garbage containers and the appropriate procedure for disposing of sharp objects, broken glass and used needles.
Refuse collectors report that these by-laws are not being followed because most people are unaware of the changes. In fact, the information on the City of Calgary website regarding household waste disposal is out of date.
CUPE Local 37 is asking the people of Calgary to help out. Today they are launching a public awareness campaign on the Citys by-laws. These CUPE members are asking the people of Calgary to phone City Council and urge them to do more to publicize the new by-laws.