Home > Employment News > TheStar Toronto votes to contract out garbage pickup

TheStar Toronto votes to contract out garbage pickup

TheStar Toronto votes to contract out garbage pickup.

Mayor Rob Ford has won his biggest victory since storming into office, setting the stage for a new era of privatization with a garbage contract that slashes 300 unionized city jobs.

“We’re getting this city turned around,” Ford crowed Tuesday night after council voted 32-13 to start a bidding process that, if it unfolds as predicted, could see a private waste hauler collect garbage from 165,000 households between Yonge St. and Etobicoke’s eastern edge.

“It’s respect for taxpayers, and this is another huge victory for us,” he said, predicting full private collection in Toronto’s west side by early 2013 will provide a stark contrast with city-provided collection in the east which will go private as well.

Rather than bow to defeat, CUPE Local 416 president Mark Ferguson claimed a “partial victory” that he thinks could scuttle the rush to shove 300 of his members with “temporary” classification out the door.

Councillor Ana Bailão’s successful motion requiring the city manager to conduct an “independent review” of private bids — to verify they would be cheaper than city collection —means the vote is “not a defeat at all,” Ferguson insisted.

“I believe that once real and true and verifiable numbers are brought back to this council, that the facts will win the day and fury will take a back seat.”

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee, expressed confidence in the city figures. Ferguson “may be looking into his own little crystal ball and wanting to see certain things,” he said.

Council also defied Ford 23-21 in favour of Councillor Josh Matlow’s motion to ban Progressive Waste Solutions from bidding on the contract. The company recently hired Geoff Rathbone, the city waste manager who recommended privatization.

And, facing a revolt by council centrists, the mayor announced Tuesday morning he was dropping a staff recommendation that, after council approved the tender process, a staff committee — rather than council — be allowed to award the actual contract.

Councillor Sarah Doucette, who voted against the measure, expressed dismay that private companies sometimes provide no pensions and few sick days. Doucette said she needed more information from the city before she could be convinced that outsourcing was a prudent fiscal decision.

“I don’t know if it’s going to save us anything, because I haven’t seen the correct numbers,” Doucette said.

Staff will now develop a “request for quotation” bidding process, with a contract expected to return to council for approval in the summer or fall of 2012. Predicted savings are $6 million per year, while privatization efforts involving pickup from parks and vacuum street cleaners could save another $2 million.

The mayor went on the attack early Tuesday, saying those who voted against him would be exposed as “tax-and-spend socialists.”

“We’re going to divide ourselves up today into two groups and it’s going to be very simple for the taxpayers to see,” Ford said. “You’re going to have one side of council that is going to support high taxes, big spending, out-of-control union contracts,” he continued, to a chorus of boos from orange-clad union members who packed the public gallery.

“We’re going to have the other side of council that is going to demonstrate restraint in spending . . . have respect for taxpayers’ dollars, that want to have accountability at City Hall, that are sick and tired of the tax-and-spend socialists at City Hall.”

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said CUPE members have only themselves to blame. Opinion polls have shown Torontonians’ strong support for private garbage collection is rooted in the 39-day strike in 2009 that saw stinking piles of trash around the city, and union members forcing residents to wait, bags in hand, at temporary dumpsites.

“Taxpayers want to be respected, even with their garbage. And that’s what brought us to this point,” he said.

With files from Daniel Dale

How they voted

Toronto City Council has voted 32-13 in favour of contracting out garbage collection from Yonge St. to the eastern edge of Etobicoke.

Ford allies

Mayor Rob Ford Yes

Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1) Yes

Doug Ford (Ward 2) Yes

Doug Holyday (Ward 3) Yes

Gloria Lindsay Luby (Ward 4) Yes

Peter Milczyn (Ward 5) Yes

Mark Grimes (Ward 6) Yes

Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7) Yes

James Pasternak (Ward 10) Yes

Frances Nunziata (Ward 11) Yes

Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12) Yes

Karen Stintz (Ward 16) Yes

Cesar Palacio (Ward 17) Yes

David Shiner (Ward 24) Yes

Jaye Robinson (Ward 25) Yes

John Parker (Ward 26) Yes

Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34) Yes

Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35) Yes

Gary Crawford (Ward 36) Yes

Michael Thompson (Ward 37) Yes

Mike Del Grande (Ward 39) Yes

Norm Kelly (Ward 40) Yes

Paul Ainslie (Ward 43) Yes

Mushy Middle

Josh Colle (Ward 15) Yes

Ana Bailao (Ward 18) Yes

Josh Matlow (Ward 22) Yes

Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32) Yes

Chin Lee (Ward 41) Yes

Raymond Cho (Ward 42) Yes

Ron Moeser (Ward 44) Yes

Progressives

Anthony Perruzza (Ward 8) No

Maria Augimeri (Ward 9) No

Sarah Doucette (Ward 13) No

Gord Perks (Ward 14) No

Mike Layton (Ward 19) No

Adam Vaughan (Ward 20) No

Joe Mihevc (Ward 21) No

John Filion (Ward 23) Yes

Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27) No

Pam McConnell (Ward 28) No

Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29) No

Paula Fletcher (Ward 30) No

Janet Davis (Ward 31) No

Shelley Carroll (Ward 33) Yes

Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38) No

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  1. June 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I knew the Fords would lick the police boots and give them a generous raise, that billion dollar Juggernaut draining the tax payers and forever Hungary for more cash while using scare tactics of huge crime waves if they don’t get their demands met.

    Of course it is easier to toss folks out of city homes appoint a one man board to do it , basically a marionette Mr. Oates double dipping on the city taxpayers with a nice 100 grand golden hand shake and a fat pension and a generous 25 grand payout for three months work to do what his puppet master Ford wants him to do.

    And sure contract out anything and everything and replace it with employees making wages that would be good if you lived in Mexico, but not in Canada namely Toronto, lol

    My point is that if your going to save taxpayers money you start at the top and work down and all that are drawing taxpayers money be it cops , firemen or whatever all have to cut back for the common good but all I see here is selective cuts and lavish payouts in other areas.

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