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THUNDER BAY, ON The union representing 650 inside and outside workers in Thunder Bay is vowing to fight attempts by municipal council to contract out and privatize public service jobs.

Contracting out seems to fly in the face of Mayor Petersons New Foundations idea, says Lisa Anderson, president of Local 87 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). We know from past experience that contracting out does not save money and comes at the expense of quality services. It also comes at the expense of our youth, jobs and experience in our community.

City management yesterday handed out pink slips to Conservatory workers who tend to the 1967 Centennial project, an important beautification project and part of Thunder Bays heritage. The city plans to invite the private sector to supply flowers, prepare beds, plan and maintain 21 parks.

Council is making a decision that could end up costing more, without knowing the facts or getting written cost estimates from the private sector, said Anderson. We saw what happened when they contracted out sidewalk clearing and tree maintenance the work didnt get done properly, despite payments to a private company, and our members had to come in and fill the gaps. No wonder the city is facing financial problems.

CUPE has learned the city wants to contract out additional services, with a loss of 16 full-time positions initially. CUPE members and president Anderson will make a presentation to Thunder Bay Council at their Monday night Council meeting (6:30 p.m. Council meeting on Monday, December 20th).

We will be coming to City Council on Monday evening to tell them why this is the wrong thing to do, says Anderson. And beyond that, we will be mounting an intense communication campaign to warn the public of the dangers of privatization: less accountability, less quality and more public dollars going to profits.

For further information, please contact:

Lisa Anderson

Dan PikeCUPE
National Rep.
613-293-3535 (cell)

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE Communications