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CUPE members in Prince Edward Island, especially Charlottetown Civic employees represented by CUPE 501, are celebrating their success in keeping Waste Watch in public hands.

On May 21, PEI environment minister Mitch Murphy announced that the Waste Watch program will not be privatized but instead turned over to a public utility.

“This announcement illustrates the power of people to move our elected officials away from actions that undermine public services,” says Bill McKinnon, president of the PEI Division. “We’re proud of the campaign put forward by the sisters and brothers of Local 501.”

The cost-effective Waste Watch program 0063006f006esidered the most successful recycling-composting system in Canada 006800610073 been threatened with privatization for almost a year-and-a-half. But through hard work and perseverance the Local kept the issue in the public spotlight and forced the government to reconsider.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the work of the Local was what made the difference,” McKinnon says. “It was a simple and effective message and the public came on side.”

With a victory under their belt, CUPE PEI is preparing for another fight. Local 1779, representing health care workers in East Prince, will spearhead a campaign against a public private partnership to build a new hospital near Summerside.

“When the government announced that we won this war on Waste Watch, that’s all we needed,” says McKinnon. “Now we’re geared up and ready to keep the new East Prince hospital public.”