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(Halifax) The president of the Nova Scotia Highway Workers Union (CUPE Local 1867) says HRM councillors who have been pointing fingers about snow plowing need to make sure they point them in the right direction.

Gareth Drinnan says he was really upset to hear some councillors criticizing highway workers at last nights council meeting. Says Drinnan, There are senior managers in the Department of Transportation (DOT) who make those decisions. The bottom line is our members go where theyre told.

Drinnan says, The real problem, which nobody wants to talk about, is the funding issue. Over the last 10 years, the provincial government has embarked on a major downsizing of DOT.

We have lost close to 1,000 highway workers and all kinds of gear in Nova Scotia in that same period. How can you expect 1,400 highway workers to do the same job as the 2,400 that once existed? asks Drinnan.

Drinnan says the government introduced a new policy this year that divides roads by priority Levels 1, 2 and 3. If you happen to live on a Level 3 road, and we get a major storm like we did yesterday, you are going to be in for a wait, he says.

Whats really at play here, is the provincial government is trying to force municipalities to take over snow plowing, says the CUPE 1867 president. The more municipalities take over those duties, the more the tax burden gets shifted onto peoples property taxes. In other words, its downloading, he adds.

Meanwhile, says Drinnan, the province continues to contract out DOT equipment and jobs at an alarming rate. And the situation is not getting any better its getting worse.

For information:
Gareth Drinnan, President, CUPE Local 1867
(902) 832-1867 (o)
(902) 295-2241 (h)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative
(902) 455-4180 (o)