Tag Archives: Mark Ferguson

City’s garbage privatization plan

City informs union of intent to contract out trash removal
Council to debate privatizing Toronto’s garbage collection
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 7)

Mayor Rob Ford announces a plan to privatize more of the city's garbage collection. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Mayor Rob Ford is poised to deliver on another election promise, this time to privatize garbage collection.
“As you know I campaigned on contracting out garbage,” Ford said at a city hall press conference today. “Today is the first step in that procedure. We notified the union at 11 am that we will discuss contracting out in May.”
Ford added that he was taking this step to prevent the city suffering through another garbage strike as well as to save money and reduce the size of government.
“That’s what people elected us to do and that’s exactly what we will deliver on,” he said.
The city is looking to contract out three aspects of the current public service: daytime, residential curb-side collection west of Yonge Street to the Etobicoke border for about 165,000 homes (garbage collection in Etobicoke is already contracted out); collection of litter and recycling in all city parks  and an additional 25 percent of the city’s litter vacuum operations to bring it up to 50 percent privatization.

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Should EMS be essential in Toronto

Should ambulance workers be allowed to strike?
City hall debates making EMS a full essential service
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Sept. 14 for Town Crier)

During the summer’s city strike many Torontonians were surprised to discover that EMS is not considered a full-fledged essential service.
Ambulances were still on the road, but 25 percent of frontline Emergency Medical Services workers were on the picket lines. 
Midtown councillor Michael Walker had a motion at the city’s Executive Committee asking the province to declare all of EMS an essential service. 
“It should be 100 percent not 75 percent,” Walker said. “The bottom line is these services will not be withdrawn from the public (in a strike).” 
Roberta Scott, public relations director for the Toronto Paramedics Association, agrees. 
“Either paramedics are a true essential service or they are not,” Scott told the committee. “On a daily basis we see there are not enough paramedics. 
“And then if you put us in a strike situation and take away 25 percent of us then it delays response time,” the former paramedic added. “That is a disaster waiting to happen.” Continue reading

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

Toronto services held up by strike

No date yet for city services to resume
Without a vote by local 416 garbage may continue to fester
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally published July 29 for Town Crier.)

Summer is still on hold.
When a tentative deal was reached between striking unions and the city on Monday Mayor David Miller said the next challenge is “bringing summer back.” 
But today, Miller was unable release details of when city services, such as garbage collection and day camps, would resume. As of this afternoon, CUPE local 416 had yet to schedule a vote on the tentative agreement with the city. 
“The intent of this press conference was to announce a schedule for the resumption of services. Until (CUPE) locals 79 and 416 sign on to back-to-work protocol, we can’t do that,” Miller said this afternoon. “I regret that.”
He added, “We wanted to have our employees back to work as early as Thursday morning.” Continue reading

Toronto union and city reach deal

Union has a tentative contract with city: CUPE local 416 pres Mark Ferguson
Kris Scheuer
(Story updated today, here.)
Ding dong, the strike may now be dead. It’s a day 36 of a city strike and at 8:30 this morning, I just heard CUPE local 416 pres Mark Ferguson announce live on CBC radio that his union, which includes garbage workers, have the basis for a deal with the municipal government.
“I’m please to say we have a basis for a deal. We still have the final pieces to put together,” Ferguson announced this morning.
When he announced this, there were loud cheers from the strikers in from the Delta Toronto East in Scarborough where negotiations have been taking place around the clock this weekend.
You can read Ferguson’s full comments,here.
He also released a written statement today to  union members saying, “We have the basis of a deal to end the strike and get you back to work. Continue reading

Union issues ultimatum to city

Mark Ferguson, pres of CUPE local 416 issues new deadline for contract
If settlement not reached by midnight July 26, union negotiators walk away
By Kris Scheuer

So it’s day 33 of the strike and the union has issued an ultimatum to the city.
It is a day off for me at my job as a city hall news journalist, but I wanted to update you on the labour dispute.
It’s just before 5 p.m. July 24 and I’m watching a press conference televised live with Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE local 416. He just made a dramatic announcement that if his union and city negotiators don’t reach a labour settlement by midnight this Sunday, July 26 then CUPE local 416 will walk away from negotiations.
“I few minutes ago, I told the city’s negotiators that time is running out. We must have a settlement by midnight Sunday…or we are finished,” said Ferguson.
For the full transcript of his remarks, click here. Continue reading