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WINNIPEG, MB. – City managers underestimated the cost of garbage collection contracts, according to Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) officials, leading City Council to make a serious mistake in contracting out garbage collection.

The Union representing the city garbage collectors, says city managers underestimated the cost of contracting out garbage collection by almost 30%.

They wanted to make it look like contracting out was cheaper than having the city collect garbage,” said Mike Davidson, President of CUPE Local 500 today after making a presentation to the Executive Policy Committee.

Now we’ve seen a recent bid for garbage collection and its clear there isn’t a $3 million saving in contracting out that management and the mayor said there was.”

The union is using figures the city provided last week to the Standing Committee on Public Works, that recommended accepting a bid from BFI to collect garbage for about $1.7 million a year. This figure is a lot higher than the $1.1 million the city estimated collection would cost for 42,600 households.

Even city managers acknowledge that the bid they are recommending is 24% higher than current costs and 11% higher than their estimate of what collection should cost.

According to the Water and Waste Department document, the increase in cost is due to an increase in garbage volume.

Their excuse for the increases is laughable. In our submissions to Council we argued that we could help the city recycle and reduce garbage. Now they are saying they have to pay the contractor more because there’s more garbage. Who are they kidding?” said Davidson.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care facilities, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services. About 8,000 of these members work in municipalities across Manitoba.

For more information, contact:

Greg Mandzuk
CUPE national representative
(204) 942-0343, ext. 297

Dennis Lewycky
CUPE communications
(204) 223-6805