Daily Archives: August 12, 2009

What I learned from city strike

We produce too much garbage, litter and packaging
I am doing my own waste audit to see how I can improve
By Kris Scheuer
(Column originally published in Town Crier Aug. 4)

Something stinks in the “state” of Toronto and it’s not just the garbage strike.
As a city hall reporter and lifelong Torontonian, here is my trash talk on garbage, litter and my top observations during the nearly six week labour unrest.
Number 1: we produce way too much waste, folks.
We deposited a total of 25,000 tonnes of waste in 26 temporary, neighbourhood garbage dumps, Geoff Rathbone, head of solid waste management told reporters on July 30.
Let’s think about that for a sec. The dumps opened June 25, some of them, such as Christie Pits, closed a mere 11 days later because they were at capacity. The amount of garbage we threw out at these dumps doesn’t even include the tonnes thrown out at seven waste transfer stations. Continue reading

Miller strikes back at critics

An exclusive op-ed for the Town Crier by Mayor David Miller
This opinion piece by T.O’s mayor offers his thoughts on the strike

By Mayor David Miller
(Written by Mayor Miller Aug. 11 for the Town Crier. This is the paper Kris Scheuer works as city hall reporter.)

The strike by CUPE local 79 and TCEU local 416 was an extremely difficult time for the people of Toronto, city employees and city council.
However, Torontonians coped remarkably well. City management and non-union staff deserve immense credit for the work they did to keep the city moving while 30,000 people were off the job.
One question I was repeatedly asked during the labour disruption was why it had to happen at all. Now that we’ve reached a negotiated settlement with our employees, I believe it’s a good time to answer that question.
The unions went on strike because they wanted parity with provincewide contracts like the one awarded to the Toronto Police Service by an arbitrator. Such settlements, reached between 2006 and 2008, followed a provincial pattern of wage increases of at least 3 percent per year. With benefit improvements, those contracts saw employment costs for Ontario cities climb in the range of 11 and 12 percent over a three-year period. Continue reading