Union urges White Rock not to privatize trash collection

WHITE ROCK — Representatives from the union of White Rock’s civic workers appeared before council Monday urging council not to contract out residential waste collection services.

The move came in response to the city contracting out waste collection services for commercial and multi-family buildings earlier this year. Staff is now exploring the possibility of doing the same for single-family home collection.

To pre-empt any decision, Mike Guraliuk, president of CUPE 402-01, appeared before council Monday as a delegation to make the case for keeping collection services as they are.

“Over the coming weeks you’ll be making an important decision regarding the way the people of White Rock’s garbage and recycling is delivered,” he said. “Contracting out has been suggested as a best practice but let’s be clear it’s not…We know the citizens are very proud of their community and there’s high level of satisfaction in the services by your employees.”

Guraliuk said any anticipated savings from the city would be unlikely as the city would not only have to pay to negotiate the contract but city staff would still have to deal with resident complaints. As well, Guraliuk argued the city would still be on the hook for costs such as WorkSafe, amongst other items.

“You’ll be buying equipment owned by the contractor rather than yourself.”

Guraliuk also reminded council of the 60-year relationship that city workers have had with residents.

“Many city workers live here and know many residents they serve, they are ambassadors for the city,” he said. “We help watch over the city for this local government… We are the face of this local government for many residents. We know them and they know us.”

Following the meeting, Guraliuk told the Now the equivalent of two positions were replaced by contracting out commercial and multi-family waste services and a further five positions would be replaced if residential-home collection is also privatized.

He added the community would lose the personal touch of city-run services that residents have come to enjoy.

“Not a word of a lie, it can be Friday at four in the afternoon and one of these guys will be running out to grab garbage,” he said. “Usually somebody will put their garbage out late and will call and say their garbage was missed. Well it wasn’t missed, we didn’t drive by and pick everyone’s garbage up except theirs but we’ll still go out there and grab it again. If you go private you’re not going to get that.”

There has only been one work stoppage in the union’s 60-year relationship with the city. CUPE 402-01 workers went on strike in the summer of 2014 for a month.

Twitter @Questionchris

cpoon@thenownewspaper.com

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