The City of Victoria workers’ union has launched a “fightback” campaign against city plans to change waste collection.
“Our main concerns are the health and safety of the public,” wrote CUPE Local 50’s president John Burrows on the union’s website.
Last week, Victoria residents received a mail-in survey asking them to vote for one of three waste-collection options with varying costs.
“Unfortunately, all three options offer only ‘curbside return,’” wrote Burrows. “This means residents will now have to carry or drag their garbage totes from the curb to the backyard.”
The rhetoric, however, is a bit misleading.
The new garbage totes will have wheels, preventing the need to life or drag them. Further, the city has committed to offer residents with mobility issues a specialized service.
This week, union members delivered flyers to residents encouraging them to vote for the most expensive option.
This option offers backyard tote pickup, but curbside tote drop off. The flyer also encouraged residents to request “backyard tote return” in the survey’s comment section.
The union’s first vice president Don Sutton, is also concerned about job loss.
If the public selects a cheaper, reduced-service collection option, at least five garbage collectors will be relocated to different municipal work.
“The job loss is going to come from the auxiliary workers that used to do the work that the relocated people are going to do now,” Sutton said.
Sutton added he’s never received a written guarantee that no lay offs will occur.
The city’s mail-in survey is due Dec. 15. Results from the survey will not be legally binding, but will be respected by council, said Mayor Dean Fortin.