Mayor Ford’s outsourcing drive has also hit cleaning jobs at police stations and the Toronto Community Housing Corp.
TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR
Mayor Rob Ford’s zeal to contract out city jobs is set to enter a new phase with the privatization of more road maintenance and grass-cutting across Toronto, the Star has learned.
Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE Local 416, has received notice the city intends to contract out the remaining plowing, salting, grass-cutting and other positions done by city workers in various districts.
That will eliminate the jobs of about 70 city workers whose permanent status, he said, will allow them to “bump down” and claim the jobs of “the most junior of temporary workers.” More than 130 currently vacant jobs would also disappear. Street sweeping would be outsourced for next summer, while winter work would go in 2012-13.
“I don’t know when Ford will stop outsourcing,” Ferguson said in an interview Monday evening. “It’s certainly problematic for our members and Torontonians who rely on the services, and rings true to form with (Councillor) Doug Ford’s vow to contract out everything that’s not nailed down.”
Ferguson said he will fight to keep the work in-house, but none of the contracts, with the exception of street sweeping, might be big enough to force city managers to get approval from city council. Many affected workers had been moved to less labour-intensive duties after suffering work injuries, he added.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, was not aware of the notice but said: “I’d have to see the business case but if it cost less one way as opposed to another, we’d certainly have to take a close look at it.”
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, public works chair, could not be reached Monday night.
Ferguson said the notice is for remaining in-house jobs in:
• All street sweeping in road operations in Etobicoke, York, North York and Scarborough districts.
• Salting and plowing of local roads in Etobicoke, and all plowing and salting, including sidewalks, in North York.
• A portion of salting and plowing of local roads in Toronto and East York districts, plus some manual work (believed to be shovelling).
• Salting of local roads in Scarborough district.
• Contingency plowing, salting and manual work city-wide to supplement existing operations as required, plus a portion of asphalt-concrete work.
• Grass cutting (believed to be boulevards and medians) in North York district.
In October, council approved a contract to expand the private curbside collection of trash from Etobicoke to 165,000 homes west of Yonge St. The administration says the deal will save taxpayers $11.2 million a year and end the jobs of about 300 city workers with a “temporary” classification.
Ford’s outsourcing drive has also hit cleaning jobs at police stations and the Toronto Community Housing Corp.
His administration, in contract talks now with CUPE Local 416 and 79, wants to eliminate airtight job-security provisions that prevent the city from pushing thousands more jobs out the door