White Rock considering privatizing household garbage collection

May 2015

To: White Rock Residents
From: White Rock City workers who provide the services that keep our city running

We are members of CUPE 4 402-01 and we are working to keep White Rock recycling and garbage collection public.

You may have heard that our White Rock Mayor and City Council are seriously considering privatizing household garbage collection and recycling services.

A unique community located within a larger population, White Rock is a city highly valued by its citizens. As a smaller community, we face different challenges than the large cities of Surrey and Vancouver.

Your city workers currently provide garbage, recycling and green waste collection for almost 4,000 White Rock homes. As labourers for the City, we also do other work – on sewers, repairs and maintenance, sidewalk maintenance and other services as needed. We are an integrated part of the team that keeps White Rock running. Here are some of the reasons that we believe White Rock should keep the team together and keep household garbage and recycling as city-delivered services.

A caring community service

It’s about people and the quality of service we provide. Your city workers believe that we can offer a higher and more consistent service to White Rock residents than private contractors. Many of us live here. We know the people we serve. We report damage and residents’ safety concerns. We help seniors and make sure cans are put back properly. We are eyes on the street in a community that we care about.

Quality, local service you know and trust. Keep it public!

Accountability and caring for the environment

When services are delivered publicly they are focused on service quality and environmental sustainability, and they are more accountable to the public. We elect government to provide services and we expect our local government to balance environmental, community, financial and social goals when looking at delivering a service. It is not just a simple bottom line. Quality of life, security, the safety of our streets, sustainability and cost are all factors to consider.

Affordability and cost-effectiveness

Even if we simply look at the bottom line, privatizing services like garbage collection often ends up costing more, not less. Council needs to look at not just the price of the contract but also the costs that they will have to keep paying. Some of these are costs that will be paid directly by the City and some are costs that will be paid but hidden in the contract.

Unlike a city, private companies must ensure that they receive a premium over the amount it actually costs to do the job in order to guarantee profit. Often, this means that privatizing a service is more expensive than cities originally planned.

And then there’s the cost of privatizing gone wrong. In 2009, the nearby City of Port Moody brought solid waste and recycling services back in-house after 10 years of private provision. The contractor missed pick-ups every week and provided such poor service that the city sent municipal employees out to clean up their mess. Two years later, the city’s inhouse waste collection won Port Moody a 2011 Solid Waste Association of North America Award of Excellence.

You may have heard about serious concerns from multi-family buildings scrambling to deal with the July 1 deadline for privatizing their garbage and recycling services. The City has proposed that single family household services be privatized by September 1, 2015.

What can you do to keep it public?

  • Let our Mayor and City Council know that you want garbage collection and recycling to continue as a public, city-delivered service.
  • Order free “Keep it public” stickers to put on your garbage bin and share with your neighbours. Reach us at WhiteRockCityWorkers@gmail.com or call 604-812-8264.
  • Stay in touch with your city workers – at www.cupe402-01.ca

CUPE members join White Rock protest of privatized waste collection

WHITE ROCK – CUPE members joined several hundred City of White Rock residents at city hall today protesting plans to privatize garbage collection and recycling services.

CUPE 402-01 President Mike Guraliuk said that he had been approached by many concerned residents who were upset by the city’s decision to stop all multi-family and commercial service with no consultation. Guraliuk said that many people were not even aware that the city is also considering privatizing pick up at single-family homes.

“CUPE members have been handing out information over the past few weeks, including Keep it Public stickers for use on waste bins, at the White Rock Buy-Low. We are not surprised that residents have taken their concerns to city hall. People don’t understand why the city is racing to privatize garbage and recycling services, and they don’t feel that the city has been listening to them,” said Guraliuk. “

The City has already issued a Request for Proposals looking for bids from private contractors, with an initial March 10 deadline for prospective private contractors. They have now extended the deadline to March 24.

The union has previously made a written submission and a presentation to the Mayor and Council highlighting problems with privatizing, including higher and hidden costs of private contracts as well as frequent service problems. Guraliuk says that city workers will continue to work with their community to keep services public.

CUPE 402-01 represents members who work for the City of White Rock and provide a wide range of services to White Rock residents, including garbage and recycling services.

White Rock residents give a thumbs down to privatized waste collection.

White Rock residents give a thumbs down to privatized waste collection.Group_shot_BuyLow_WhiteRock_March7_2015 017

WHITE ROCK – CUPE members in the City of White Rock have been out talking to the community about the proposed privatizing of residential garbage and recycling services, and they have heard lots of support for keeping it public.

CUPE 402-01 President Mike Guraliuk said that local members were handing out information this weekend, including Keep it Public stickers for use on waste bins, at the White Rock Buy-Low.

“We found overwhelming public support for keeping it public,” said Guraliuk. “Lots of White Rock residents are already very upset by the city’s decision to stop all multi-family and commercial service with no consultation. When people hear that the city is now considering privatizing pick up at single-family homes, they are hopping mad. White Rock citizens are very proud of our community and are quite satisfied with current garbage and recycling services.”

Guraliuk said that most people don’t know this is even being considered despite the fact that the City has already issued a Request for Proposals looking for bids from private contractors, with a March 10 deadline for prospective private contractors.

“For us it is really about the services our members offer. Many of us live here – we know the people we serve. We are part of the community and we respond to safety concerns, report damage and help seniors make sure cans are put back properly. We are eyes on the street in a community we care deeply about,” said Guraliuk.

The union has previously made a written submission and a presentation to the Mayor and Council highlighting problems with privatizing, including higher and hidden costs of private contracts as well as frequent service problems. Guraliuk says that city workers will continue being out in the community, and will be at Buy-Low again on Saturday March 14 if people want to get stickers or more information.

CUPE 402-01 represents members who work for the City of White Rock and provide a wide range of services to White Rock residents, including garbage and recycling services.

– See more at: http://www.cupe.bc.ca/news/3694#sthash.aNriA0X4.dpuf

Awareness Campaign – Contracting Out Services

Your support to stand up for our Brothers in Municipal Operations is needed.

The Event: Awareness Campaign – Contracting Out Services
Dates: Saturday March 7th and Saturday March 14th
Place: In front of By-Low Foods (Johnston Rd/Thrift Ave)
Time: 12 noon – 4:00 pm

We need to continue to stand up for one another!

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day
On February 25, 2015 we encourage everyone to wear something pink to show that we are all working together to prevent bullying in our schools, in our communities and online. Pink Shirt Day comes from two Nova Scotia high school students, who decided to take a stand against bullying in their own school.

White Rock workers warn against privatizing home garbage pickup

WHITE ROCK – Workers in the City of White Rock spoke to city council on Monday night about proposed privatizing of home garbage and recycling services.

CUPE 402-01 President Mike Guraliuk briefly reviewed technical and cost problems with privatizing, which are contained in the union’s written submission to council. These include higher and hidden costs of private contracts and frequent service problems which have led council to contract services back in.

Guraliuk mainly focused on the human and service concerns when city services are handed over to private contractors. “We know that the citizens are very proud of our community and surveys find a high level of satisfaction with garbage and recycling services publicly delivered by White Rock employees. That’s in part because many city workers live here and know the residents they serve.”

“Your employees act as ambassadors for the city, answering questions from residents, reporting problems like damaged street signs and safety hazards, helping seniors where they can, and making sure cans are properly put back. Contracting out this work will put at risk the relationship between White Rock and its citizens that has been established by the people who work for you, and it is a risk that no contract can mitigate,” said Guraliuk.

CUPE was responding to the City’s January 6 announcement of its intention to issue a request for proposal on contracting out single-family home collection. Council indicated that it would xxxxxxx. CUPE 402-01 represents members who work for the City of White Rock and provide a wide range of services to White Rock residents, including garbage and recycling services.