TORONTO - There are a number of issues that must be dealt with before the City of Toronto considers the contracting out of garbage and recycling collections west of Yonge Street in Toronto, says Mark Ferguson, president of the Toronto Civic Employees Union (TCEU), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 416.
“The rush to push the outsourcing through is of grave concern to us. This would be a major change to the city and for the public that our members serve. There are a number of issues that must be addressed prior to looking at tendering a quarter of a billion dollar private contract,” Ferguson said.
“This rushed process does not leave enough time for council to seriously debate such a major restructuring,” Ferguson said. We know that our service is a better one and that municipal workers are more flexible than private companies. We were able to work out a system that worked when the City of York was brought back in-house. We need to be at the table to find efficiencies, and contracting-out would not allow that input and would do away with transparency.”
“One of the issues of real concern to many people, including our members, is the secrecy and lack of transparency. Council, those who represent all of us and are guardians of the public interest, won’t be allowed to see the private contractors’ bids; they won’t even be allowed to know who is bidding on the tender.”
“Our fellow municipal workers in Ottawa, Hamilton and Sherbrooke, Quebec, have been able to work with their administrations to effectively save money and find efficiencies for their cities, and that’s what we’re asking,” said Ferguson.
“We have asked for the opportunity to work with the city to achieve further efficiencies, but they have shown no interest in working with us. Working together, we were able to find efficiencies and the city saved $4 million a year by bringing the former City of York collections back in-house. And this is the common experience in municipalities across Canada where the administration sits down with workers in the interest of taxpayers.”
“We think, to be open and transparent, Council should put off approving the report until an honest and in-depth review can be conducted,” Ferguson concluded.
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