CUPE Local 569 says St. John's should seriously consider the 'public option' on new recycling program

    ST. JOHN'S, NL, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - The union representing City of St. John's
outside workers says City Council should seriously consider providing its new
recycling program with its own employees - for economic and environmental
    CUPE Local 569 President Greg Baker says, "With the pilot project for
1,400 homes slated to begin at the end of April, we need to start mapping out
a comprehensive solid waste management strategy for the entire city. We
believe the in-house option is a cost-efficient alternative.
    "For starters," says Baker we have a 14% advantage over any private
company because municipalities have an HST exemption. Not only that, the City
of St. John's buys its fuel in bulk and gets a much cheaper price as a result.
These two factors alone make the public option a viable one."
    Baker says, "To simply say that this service is going to be contracted
out to the lowest bidder without weighing it against the public option is
doing a disservice to the taxpayers and residents who will be footing the
    "We are urging councillors to look at what's going on in other
jurisdictions and learn from that. Recently, the Cape Breton Regional
Municipality (CBRM) expanded its recycling program but not before it set up a
Review Committee comprised of senior managers and union representatives. They
explored all the options and in the end that committee recommended providing
the service with its own employees," says Baker.
    Adds Baker, "St. John's would have to purchase new vehicles for the new,
three-stream system but those could be phased in as the program expands across
the city. In fact, CBRM just took delivery of its new vehicles this month.
    "If CBRM can do this, and the economic picture in Cape Breton is not
great as we all know, then surely a booming municipality like St. John's can
do the same. With the environment topping every public opinion poll these
days, it's time we showed some dramatic leadership on this issue," he says.

For further information:

For further information: Greg Baker, President, CUPE Local 569, (709)
576-8973 (o), (709) 747-4510 (h); John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.,
(902) 455-4180 (o)

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Atlantic Region

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