GUELPH, ON. – Contracting out waste collection will lead to a loss of accountability, lower the quality of service and open the door to further privatization of public services, warns the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing over 264 City of Guelph outside workers.
“Our members are at the forefront of the City’s environmentally responsible waste collection program,” said Brad Kelloway, president of CUPE 241. “Guelph taxpayers have invested millions of dollars to build a pioneering, leading edge program that is lauded by municipalities worldwide, including Hong Kong, yet our Council is willing to risk the program by contracting out important waste collection to a profit seeking company.”
Last month, two private for-profit companies submitted bids in response to a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the City of Guelph. The RFP include such services as curbside waste collection, leaf waste collection and bulky items collection, services that are now performed by City workers. Other services in the RFP include the seasonal collection of brush, yard waste and Christmas trees, currently collected by private companies.
“It is very puzzling that Council would send out RFP bids for a program that the provincial environment minister has touted as an innovative and ground breaking example of how municipalities should manage waste,” said Kelloway. “City management has also recognized the value and importance of public control and accountability over our waste program, yet some city councillors want to invite private companies to take over.”
Guelph was one of the first municipalities to introduce a two-stream wet-dry curbside collection program, which eventually was converted to the existing three-stream program, known locally as Wet-Dry Plus. “Our front-line waste collection workers play a significant role in making this a successful model. They don’t just collect garbage, but they monitor and ensure that waste is separated properly. We work as a team with the recycling and sorting staff to ensure Guelph attains a leading waste diversion rate,” said Kelloway. “Contracting out the waste collection component will essentially break this efficient system down, which will not bode well for our members, our environment and the taxpayers of Guelph.”
“We are mounting a public campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of privatizing waste collection and to engage the residents of our community to prevent the dismantling of our prized waste management program,” said Kelloway.
For more information, please contact:
CUPE 241 president (Guelph Outside Workers)
(519) 829-5833 (cell)
CUPE national representative