Winnipeg’s city councillors are deliberating on cuts that would leave our community wounded for years to come, says Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE 500, representing city staff.
The CUPE campaign includes billboards, digital, and social media ads that call on the public to learn more about the cuts, and sign a petition calling on Council to reject all the proposed cuts and closures.
“The cuts being proposed affect every corner of our city, and we will not accept any cuts that hurt our public and community services,” says Delbridge.
Cuts include but are not limited to:
- The closure of numerous libraries, pools, arenas, and wading pools;
- Cuts to libraries, pools, and arenas across the city, including a reduction in hours of operation and reduced leisure guide programming;
- Cuts to water & wastewater maintenance, degreasing that could result in brown water, sewage overflows into the rivers, and risk of residential sewer backups;
- Cuts to 24 hour emergency crews that could result in more frozen pipes and delays in addressing water main breaks;
- Cuts to 311 services, resulting in longer wait times;
- Cuts to the Property and Planning department that could result in longer approval times for business, residents, and developers;
- Cuts to Assiniboine Park Conservancy which could result in cuts to the Zoo;
- Cuts to every second or third streetlight (yes, this is still being considered!)
Staff morale at all-time low
The City’s multi-year budget process has already impacted the workforce, with many city staff worrying about the future of their jobs and the services they deliver to the community.
“Staff morale at the City is at an all-time low,” said Delbridge. “City staff care deeply about the services they provide, whether a librarian at Westwood Library, or the call centre staff at 311, and this budget process has had them fear for their work since November. It is really unfair for staff”.
The CUPE campaign directs the public to yourwinnipeg.ca, where an online petition and details of the cuts can be found.
“There are many community groups also raising their concerns about the cuts, and CUPE 500 will be doing whatever we can to support those groups as well,” said Delbridge. “The entire community is mobilizing against the City’s proposed cuts and closures, and I hope City Councillors listen to all our voices in the weeks to come”.
The City’s Preliminary budget is set to be made public on March 6, and the final budget will be voted on at a full Council meeting on March 26.
Visit budgetforall.org to get involved with community-led initiatives against the cuts.