Garbage privatization east of Yonge

9:56 a.m., Nov. 21, 2016. Representatives from CUPE Local 416 speak with media outside Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Pictured from left: Ted Valis, executive of CUPE local 416; Matt Figliano, executive vice-president CUPE Local 416; and Brian Demareski, executive solid waste, unit chair CUPE Local 416.

Public Works Chair: “The landscape has really changed”

Hours before representatives from CUPE Local 416 spoke at city hall about privatizing garbage collection east of Yonge Street, Mayor John Tory was helping Marcia Stiles take out her garbage in Scarborough.

7:43 a.m., Nov. 21, 2016. Outside Marcia Stiles, left, home in Scarborough, Mayor John Tory makes an announcement about solid waste collection with Councillor Michael Thompson standing by.
7:43 a.m., Nov. 21, 2016. Outside Marcia Stiles, left, home in Scarborough, Mayor John Tory makes an announcement about solid waste collection with Councillor Michael Thompson standing by.

“People like Marcia, who’s worked hard her whole life, wants to know her city government is looking for every single opportunity to make money. She pays taxes. She wants to see us invest her money wisely,” the mayor said to reporters outside Stiles’s home early Monday morning. The mayor said he ran on the issue, and the city is saving money contracting out garbage in the west.

The issue came before the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee later Monday. Chair Jaye Robinson justified the need for another report. “The landscape has really changed… a number of new data has come in. We have the 2015 collection information now, which we didn’t have the last round. We also have Inventory of fleet services, which we also didn’t have last time. Also the labour negotiation’s been ratified and wrapped up.”

Executive vice-president of CUPE Local 416 Matt Figliano spoke with reporters before the committee about what will happen if privatization comes about. “Basically they go through a redeployment process, but at the end of the day people will be laid off. The city doesn’t have 500 vacancies to fill,” he said. “But this ‘jobs for life’ [clause] – there is no provision in the collective agreement for jobs for life. That doesn’t exist. It’s never existed. If that did exist (laughs) we wouldn’t be here debating” Figliano explained they do have some protections for members who have worked 15 years or more.

Speaking with reporters about whether the city should have negotiated with the union with the question of privatization as the main issue, Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong responded. “We had a mandate that we got from the labour relations committee in terms of what we needed to do to provide the flexibility that we wanted in our labour agreement,” he said. “I don’t think I, or the mayor, or any of council should apologize for getting the best deal the city could get.”