Tag Archives: Strike

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.

Continue reading

New contract for beach volleyball

John Morrison built up business of volleyball at Ashbridges Bay over 14 yrs
Accomplishments being ignored and was shut out of new contract says Morrison
He owed city money at end of last contract and didn’t bid on new deal
By Kris Scheuer
(Written April 8 for Town Crier.)

John Morrison’s dream of continuing his beach volleyball partnership with the city was spiked when council awarded a new contract to another major player.
The Ontario Volleyball Assocation was the only bidder for the five-year contract to run beach volleyball at Ashbridges Bay and on March 31 the city sealed the new deal.
Morrison’s company TESSC Inc., better known as Not So Pro Sports, has been running beach volleyball at the site with various city permits and contracts for 14 years. His previous city contract expired last September and he has yet to settle up for $327,875 he owes.
But for Morrison that’s where the story begins not where it ends.
“They say pay up your bill and thanks for the last 14 years — don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” said Morrison. Continue reading

Garbage fee hike cancelled

Solid waste budget gets additional cash to avoid trash rate hike
Millions saved during summer strike diverted to garbage department
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Oct. 28 for Town Crier.)

Call it the garbage fee hike that never was.
Toronto city council couldn’t stomach implementing a proposed two percent increase for trash fees so soon after a strike that saw garbage collection suspended for 39 days.
The fee would generate an additional $4.8 million for the solid waste management department to implement additional waste diversion programs such as additional reuse centres for old mattresses and furniture to be recycled or sold rather than tossed in landfill. The proposed fee hike would have meant an additional $4-8 per bin depending on the size.
But instead of raising garbage rates, the city approved using $4.8 million out of the $36.1 million “saved” during this summer’s strike for the garbage department’s 2010 budget to hold the line on fees. Continue reading

Strike savings used to avoid garbage hike

City to add millions to garbage budget to avoid fee hike
Proposal was to raise rates by two percent in 2010
By Kris Scheuer
(Oct. 29 update here.)

City council voted today to apply $4.8 million from money saved during this summer’s strike towards the garbage department’s budget.
While the city saved money in some departments during the 39-day labour dispute, in other areas it cost them more in overtime pay and legal costs.
Overall, the city came out $36.1 million ahead. Today city politicians debated what to do with that money: issue rebates, put it into general revenue or use part of it to off set proposed garbage fee hikes.
In the end, council voted 22-19 to apply nearly $5 million to Toronto’s garbage department budget to avoid a proposed two percent hike in rates for 2010.
The motion put forth by Councillor Karen Stintz passed after hours of debate.
For more on this story, please click here for update.

So what do you think? Was this the right use of $4.8 million?

Strike saved city 33 million

How should city use the savings?
What’s your wish list: rebates or spend on services?

(Written Oct. 6 for Town Crier. Oct. 26 UPDATE.)

You remember the 39-day strike this summer? At the time I wrote this, city figures stated the government saved $33.1 million during the labour unrest.
So what should be done with this money?
The main three options for the city are to issue rebate cheques to residents, use it for specific programs or fold the windfall into general revenues. My preference is to use some of the money to bring down a planned garbage rate hike and if that’s not possible then instead put the millions towards balancing the 2010 budget. But I’d want to know how the money was specifically spent. Continue reading

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

Toronto strike drags on

By Kris Scheuer

The city could be in for the long haul when it comes to the garbage strike.
So says city manager Joseph Pennachetti at a press conference this afternoon.
“I wish I had a crystal ball,” Pennachetti said around 2:30 p.m. June 30. “I still say we literally have no idea when this strike will end.”
He stressed that the city remains ready to meet 24 hours with the Canadian Union of Public Employees
CUPE Local 79 and Toronto Civic Employees’ Union CUPE Local 416.
The city and unions continue to negotiate on a settlement, he said on day nine of the strike, but at 3 p.m. there had been no formal talks June 30 and nothing was currently scheduled for
Canada Day July 1.
During the strike, which started at midnight June 22, a number of city services have been suspended. This includes the cancellation of city run parks and recreation programs, community centres, camps, daycares, garbage collection, water testing at beaches, park permits and Canada Day events.
For a full list of affected city services click here.
(I wrote this June 30 and it was originally posted at www.mytowncrier.ca)

Toronto strike impact

How is the strike affecting you?
By Kris Scheuer
It’s day six of the strike and garbage is piling up in the streets, city waste transfer stations and 19 temporary dumps located near parks such as Christie Pits and beaches like Sunnyside.
Parents are having to find alternative arrangements as all city-run daycare is shut down.
City-run camps and recreation programs and community centres are a not open. And there’s no water testing at Toronto’s 11-designated beaches.
Check out the city’s website to see a full list of services affected by this labour disruption. Then tell me what service has impacted you the most since the strike began June 22?
As well, for articles on how this situation is playing out in TO’s communities please check out online coverage at the paper I work for the Town Crier.