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HAMILTON – Hamiltons city council is set to rubber stamp garbage privatization tomorrow, despite union opposition and little public consultation.

The public is not aware of what is about to take place, says Gus Oliveira, the president of CUPE Local 5167, representing city workers. We are urging councillors to think again before they take this drastic action. Under NAFTA, it is not easy to return services to the public sector once theyve been turned over to for-profit firms. Council should not be making any changes until it has a comprehensive waste management plan in place.

CUPE Local 5167 presented its concerns to the citys Committee of the Whole last week. It was evident that the committee had already decided to endorse the Dillon Report on waste collection, says Oliveira. We are concerned that it will be passed as a fait accompli tomorrow. Council has not responded to city workers concerns about the recommendations. It has not addressed our misgivings about the substance of the Dillon Report.

The Dillon Report, released on Aug. 22, calls for waste collection in the new City of Hamilton to be divided into six areas. Private firms would collect garbage in three of the six zones. City workers will be responsible for the most difficult services areas, says Oliveira. Theyre giving private contractors easier zones. Then they intend to compare the two. They are not creating a level playing field.

CUPE has been urging council to adopt an integrated, environment-friendly plan before making any changes to the existing waste management system. We dont even measure up when it comes to blue box programs, says Oliveira. It does not make sense to change one part of the operation before making decisions about the big picture.


Shannon McManus, CUPE Communications:
Gus Oliveira, CUPE Local 5167:
905-517-4105 or 905-522-0917