City council has adopted a union-drafted plan, which will see the number of contractors cut in half for 2007-08, with a further reduction of 25 to 30 per cent the following winter.
On the heels of last November’s municipal election, which brought a labour-friendly administration to power, the local struck a committee that included snow plow operators and other section representatives, as well as the local’s national rep. Together they reviewed the contracting out situation and prepared their own winter control plan, one that saved money while delivering reliable service.
The local had done its homework, and was able to show the new mayor and council that contracting out the work was costing $1.25 million in standby time, half a million dollars more than the $750,000 the contractors had been paid to actually clear snow last winter. “It was immoral, almost criminal,” says CUPE 4705 president Wyman MacKinnon.
Bringing the work back in-house will save at least $600,000 in standby fees that are no longer needed. At the same time, the community will get dedicated service from CUPE members. It’s a difference that gets noticed. MacKinnon says residents stop CUPE operators to thank them for their work, and comment on the poor job done by contractor plows. “We’ve been the ones doing clean-up, and it gets noticed.”
CUPE 4705 was part of the labour and community campaign to elect a labour-friendly mayor and councillors last fall. Fresh from the contracting in, the local is setting its sights on redesigning some seasonal jobs to create permanent, year-round employment.