City’s move to privatize garbage is irresponsible, union president says

The president of the Toronto Civic Employees’ Union (TCEU) Local 416 says the city’s move to privatize garbage collection is a move in the wrong direction.

Mark Ferguson spoke at a press conference broadcast on CP24 today after Mayor Rob Ford announced his plan to recommend a competitive bid process for parts of the city’s garbage collection, including curbside pickup for residences west of Yonge Street.

“(This is) an irresponsible and wrong-headed approach to the delivery of city services,” Ferguson said.

The city has suggested the union itself could potentially put forth a bid for the contracts, which Ferguson says is not an option.

“Asking us, the union, to bid among private contractors is an untenable position,” Ferguson said. “We are not an employer (and) we do not have an ability to manage a workforce. These are essential components of responding to a tender.”

Ford said he’s working to do something he was put in the mayor’s chair to do.

“We are doing this so we are not going to go through another 40 day garbage strike, like we did last year (2009),” Ford said at the announcement. “We’re going to save millions of dollars (and) we’re going to reduce the size of government. That’s what people elected us to do, that’s exactly what we’re going to deliver on.”

About 300 jobs would be impacted by the privatization of garbage collection, according to the city’s press release.

Ford’s office said that if collection around the entire city were to be done privately, close to $20-million would be saved.