QUESNEL After a ruling last week by prominent BC arbitrator Vince Ready, roads in the Quesnel boundary expansion of South Hills will no longer be plowed, sanded or maintained by private contractors. Quesnel city workers, represented by CUPE 1050, had long argued that their cost effectiveness, flexibility and contract language meant this work ought to be done by them.
This is the outcome we had hoped for, said Dan Weiman, CUPE 1050 President. We have long argued that city work belongs to city workers. We are experienced, committed to the community and dont extract a profit. Readys ruling recognized that.
The city of Quesnel took over responsibility for maintenance of the 25 kilometre (50 lane kilometre) road in the fall of 2003. Argo, a private contractor, on behalf of the province, had previously performed its maintenance.
Argos contract was worth over $12,000 a month for snow removal even if it doesnt snow or require sanding, Weiman explains. Our wages for South Hills would only amount to about $11,700 per month. If it doesnt snow and the roads dont need sanding, we can be assigned different duties, and the savings go back to the city.
Ready also decided that city workers can perform the additional summer road maintenance in a cost effective manner.
Currently, five city workers perform summer and winter maintenance for approximately 186 lane kilometres within the city of Quesnel. In his award, Ready recommends a winter afternoon shift and a year-round utility weekend shift [be added] to accommodate the performance of the additional road maintenance in the South Hills area.
The ruling further establishes that CUPE 1050s bids for the South Hills work were not fairly presented to council.
CUPE 1050 represents Quesnels city workers.
For more information and a copy of Vince Readys decision: please visit www/cupe1050.com.
Dan Weiman, CUPE 1050 President, c: (250) 991-9195;
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, c: (778) 229-0258