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KIRKLAND LAKE The union representing water treatment specialists and physical services workers defended its campaign to keep local control of the town’s water system, despite criticism by Councillors like Todd Morgan who threatened to contract out the entire system and lashed out at union leaders.

“Comments by Morgan and others threatening to contract out the whole system do nothing to reassure residents and raise more questions about what plans are in place for the future or our utility,” says Bob Rosicki, president of Local 26 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “We are the frontline workers and we felt we had a responsibility to warn the public that officials from OCWA (Ontario Clean Water Agency) have been touring the plant and meetings have taken place.” Rosicki’s comments were in response to remarks by Morgan and other politicians cited in today’s Northern Daily News.

“Contracting out would be a bad move for local residents,” warns CUPE National Representative Jo-Ann Breton. “OCWA is a Crown Agency the government had once listed on their SuperBuild site as a prime offering for privatization. The Conservatives took it off their sell-off list in the wake of Walkerton, but that doesn’t mean they won’t move to privatize it again in the future if they think they can get away with it, especially if they get through the next election.”

“After Walkerton, the last thing we need is to lose local control of our waterworks,” adds Rosicki. “Instead of bringing in an outside manager, the Town and the utility should recruit a certified operator and bring much needed jobs to Kirkland Lake. This has nothing to do with negotiations it’s just common sense.”

CUPE and local water and environmental activists recently prevented Toronto City Council from establishing an arms-length board to run Toronto’s waterworks, thanks to local education campaigns and pressure from local residents on city councillors to scrap the plan. CUPE, Canada’s largest union with over half a million members, has successfully fought back plans for privatization and contracting out of other public services in municipalities and in other sectors across Canada.


For further information, please contact:
Jo-Ann Breton, CUPE National Rep.
Bob Rosicki, Local 26 President
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications