Daily Archives: July 30, 2009

The good, the bad and the smelly

Evidence from garbage strike is we still have long way to go in conservation quest
(Originally written July 17 by Kris Scheuer for Town Crier.)

Conservation and consumption.
There’s both good news and a shocking reality check when it comes to how much we conserve and consume in Toronto.
We are becoming more aware of ways we can cut back on our use of everything from energy to plastic bags.
But on the other hand, the garbage strike that hit the city at midnight June 22 made it oh so obvious that we are still producing far too much waste.
While it’s true that as the clock struck midnight, it had been two weeks since the last regularly scheduled garbage pickup for some folks, there were already reports of people illegally dumping waste in parks like Christie Pits on day 1 of the strike.
Continue reading

CUPE local 79 returns to work

City’s inside workers back on job at 12:01 tonight
Daycare workers, nurses in homes for aged among returning strikers
By Kris Scheuer

City council still has to vote on Friday for this union’s four new contracts.
But no matter, the light at the end of the tunnel is striking workers will be back on the job just after midnight tonight.
“Please report for work at your next regularly scheduled shift or workday as of 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 31,” says a statement on CUPE local 79‘s website tonight. Continue reading

City starts cleaning up garbage tonight

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Street trash on St. Clair West. Photo Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

City starts picking up litter and street trash at midnight
Regular garbage collection resumes next week
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier July 30.)
Toronto should look a little cleaner and smell better starting tomorrow.
That’s because litter and garbage will start to be cleaned up off the streets as early as midnight tonight Geoff Rathbone, general manager of Solid Waste Management told a press conference this afternoon.
“As you can imagine cleaning up the city will be a large and complex operation,” he said around 3 p.m. “We will commence work early tomorrow morning by beginning the process of emptying and returning to service the city’s 5,000 litter bins.”
If city council approves the contracts for CUPE local 416 tomorrow, the 26 temporary dumps will be emptied of about 25,000 tonnes of garbage starting on Aug. 2.
“Our goals are the removal of the waste from all sites by Sunday evening to allow for the sites to return to normal operations,” Rathbone said. Continue reading

City services resume as strike ends

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Clean up of trash and litter starts July 31. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Workers will resume all strike-affected services starting with emptying trash
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier July 30.)

Toronto’s summer can now begin, Mayor David Miller said at a press conference this afternoon.
“The resumption of all city services beginning at midnight tonight,” he said. “I want to thank Torontonians for their continued patience and good will. 
“While it may take us a few days, Torontonians can expect to have all of their city services up and running by early next week,” he added. “This has been a challenging time for Toronto.” 
Starting at midnight tonight, you will start to see workers picking up litter and emptying garbage cans. On Sunday the 26 temporary dumps will be cleaned up. Continue reading

Council vote on union deal hits roadblock

At least 10 city politicians to vote against union contracts tomorrow
Wage increases, bankable sick days points of contentions
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier July 30. Read July 31 UPDATE on the final vote.)

City councillors known as the Responsible Government Group vowed to vote against the negotiated deals with CUPE locals 416 and 79 at tomorrow’s special council meeting.
“Throughout the last five weeks of a strike the people of Toronto have put up with trash in their parks and cancelled services because they believed it was necessary in order to achieve a fair and affordable contract,” Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Karen Stintz said at a press conference this morning. “We have achieved neither.”
The contracts award striking workers with a six percent pay increase over three years and an option to continue to bank sick days until retirement or take a buyout and switch to the new short term disability plan.

“After a strike of almost six weeks the unions and mayor have declared they have reached an agreement that is fair to both employees and the people of Toronto,” Toronto-Danforth councillor Case Ootes said today.  “Citizens have been let down. 
“The mayor promised to eliminate the costly sick benefit program and has failed to meet that commitment,” he added. “This agreement is not affordable and not acceptable to the taxpayers of Toronto.” Continue reading

Post-strike service resumption

Mayor to announce when all city services back on track
Press conference this afternoon expected to be quite detailed
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier July 30. Check here for update, I wrote today.)

Mayor David Miller and city manager Joe Pennachetti will announce details today at 3 p.m. on when camps, community centres, daycare, island ferry service, and garbage and litter collection will resume.
Both of the city’s striking unions — CUPE locals 79 and 416 — have said they are willing to return to work as of tomorrow.
I will be at that press conference, so check back this afternoon for all the dirty details.

Strike could end Friday

Labour unrest may end tomorrow and workers return July 31
CUPE local 79 has voted for contract, local 416 to decide today
By Kris Scheuer

Garbage workers may be back on the job as soon as tomorrow.
Around midnight Thursday, CUPE local 416 president Mark Ferguson released a statement that the final details on a tentative deal had been hammered out.
As well, sticking points on back to work protocol including allowing striking garbage collectors to help with the massive clean-up have been ironed out.
This union will hold a vote for members today between 10-6 to ratify the city’s three-contract offer.
“The last two days have been grueling and necessary to ensure our members return to work with collective agreement protection,” said Ferguson in a July 30 statement released after midnight. Continue reading