April 12, 2013
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 500, has launched a new television ad in the “For Sale” series to raise awareness on the impact of privatization on municipal services and assets in Winnipeg.
“Our second television ad aims to raise a stronger understanding among Winnipeggers of the serious implications that the contracting out and privatization of city services has on our community,” said Mike Davidson, President of CUPE Local 500. “Our new ad draws attention to City Hall’s targeting of municipal custodial services and public golf courses.”
In this ad, CUPE cites the September 2011 CBC I-Team investigation into the inflated costs of using a private company for municipal flood-related sandbags: a service once owned by the public.
“The sand bag example is an easy-to-understand illustration of some of the drawbacks to privatization,” Davidson said. “When we privatize a service that the public needs, we end up paying more to cancel contracts, we get reduced services, and at the end of the day it’s no bargain for Winnipeggers.”
The ad also references CUPE’s ongoing demand to open the books on garbage collection through an audit of the service that was privatized in 2005, indicating that the public deserves to know how much is being spent on private garbage collection.
“CUPE has met with the City at many levels, and has been presented with no clear evidence that the sale of municipal golf courses, or the contracting out of our custodial services would result in cost-savings,” states Davidson. “Winnipeggers rely on our municipal custodians to keep our community facilities and civic offices clean, and we have seen evidence in other jurisdictions that private companies sacrifice quality for their own profit.”
CUPE Local 500 represents about 5,000 employees working at the City of Winnipeg who provide front-line services in the areas of public works, parks, golf courses, water and wastewater, recreation, custodial and other services.