On October 23, CUPE 500, representing Winnipeg’s municipal workers, released the full Public Plowing Works report. This report includes a compilation of feedback from Winnipeggers collected through the “Snow Plowing Hotline” and wpgsnow.ca website throughout the spring of 2015.

“We have been ready and waiting for the City’s administrative report on public snow clearing since June,” says Mike Davidson, President of CUPE 500. “The City has delayed their report numerous times, and with winter coming there is no time to lose when talking about improving snow clearing in Winnipeg.”

Over 400 Winnipeggers provided their personal stories and experiences with Winnipeg’s snow removal contractors through CUPE’s Public Plowing Works campaign. Feedback included a wide range of concerns with Winnipeg’s current snow clearing system and dissatisfaction with the quality of contracted snow removal providers.

“We’ve heard all sorts of horror stories from the public with respect to snow removal contractors, including damage to personal property, safety concerns with the quality of snow clearing, and a diminishing trust when it comes to accountable, quality service provision,” said Davidson.

In addition to the Public Plowing Works report, CUPE 500 worked with Herb Hajer, former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Winnipeg’s Fleet Services and President of Double H. Consulting to develop a viable alternative to the wasteful practice of contracting out Winnipeg’s snow removal.

“As Winnipeg’s city workers, we have always made ourselves available to help improve our municipal services,” said Davidson. “With 80 pour cent of Winnipeg’s snow clearing contracted out, we made ourselves available to sit down and take a serious look at how our snow clearing operates.”

Hajer’s report highlights the need for a comprehensive review of contracted snow clearing services, as well as provides an “insider” perspective on proper fleet management, significant savings, and opportunities to develop a more reliable and efficient public snow clearing fleet. 

Hajer also provides a long-term solution that would find significant cost savings, an opportunity to streamline existing fleet management across the city, and ultimately build a strong, effective, and trustworthy public snow removal service for the citizens of Winnipeg.

“Reducing our reliance on the current patchwork of expensive contractors is a long-term project,” said Davidson. “We need to phase out private snow removal contractors and replace them with reliable municipal equipment and well-trained operators who value the services they provide and who treat their job as a career, rather than a one-off gig.”

The Public Plowing Works report can be found at www.wpgsnow.ca, and the Double H. Consulting report is available upon request by contacting CUPE 500 at (204) 942-1001 or union@cupe500.mb.ca

CUPE 500 represents about 4,600 municipal employees at the City of Winnipeg.