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Another Alberta pilot project, jointly supported by Local 46 and the City of Medicine Hat, shows that the private sector cannot compete with public sector workers.

The pilot studied bumper to bumper repair costs for 22 police vehicles in Medicine Hat. Eleven cars were serviced by city mechanics, members of Local 46, and the other eleven by a local dealership. The results of this study found that CUPE members are not merely competitive but more cost effective.

The private firm charged an average of $6.48 per kilometre compared to CUPE members’ $4.78 per kilometre. The analysis indicates that it was probably the shop rates that “explains the majority of the difference in the average cost per kilometre”. The city’s rate is $40 compared to the private firm’s $45.

One City alderman, Graham Kelly, said that the report dispels the myth that city employees are more expensive than their private sector counterparts. Amen to that.

The problem is that you can’t embarrass the privateers and lobbyists who see big bucks in contracting out and privatization. Rather than following their own rhetoric about competing internationally, these guys want to take the easy way out and take the jobs of public employees. They lower wages and call the difference their earned profit.

It is greed that propels these lobbyists, not a demand for efficient and cost effective public services. In truth, they know what we know. No savings or efficiencies result from contracting out the work of dedicated public employees.

Unfortunately most of today’s politicians don’t have the integrity to tell private sector lobbyists to get a new life.

Ron Lévesque