"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday 19 May 2011

Private Contract Versus Organised Labour

I watched part of an Agenda program on the above subject. Toronto Council was talking about contracting out garbage collection. The strike held the city hostage all  last  summer and brought David Miller's Mayoralty to an end. It was about keeping unused sick pay credits. They are credits built up if an employee is lucky enough not to get sick.

If you don't get sick and have to take time off ,you get credit for the sick time you didn't have to take off because you weren't sick. 

The city has decided to contract out part of their collection service. A union spokesperson argues it will not save cost. It will be more expensive.

On the T.V. program, a guest referred to the City of Manchester in England. He said there was no more labour oriented city in the U.K. To control service interruptions,(strikes) and costs, the city decided to contract out. The Unions bid on the contracts. And won them.

And everybody lived happily ever after.

The Mayor and Councillors had an e-mail from a spokeperson for the Firefighters' Association yesterday.The Association is making a public statement about their commitment to full fire protection to the community.

The implication is management is putting the community at risk.

We just added a new crew to the fire service. At horrendous cost.

The Premier of Ontario has repeatedly acceded to demands from the Ontario Firefighters Association. They will have a serious impact on cost to property owners. The demands have not yet ended. They got the Liberals elected.  Once again it's time to pay up.

Costs for fire protection  increase without adding to fire protection.

To save their industry, auto giants in the recent economic crisis negotiated a sale of benefit entitlement plans to the unions. Because of increased life expectancy,entitlements were putting the industry out of competition with foreign car-makers and out of business. Thousands of jobs were at risk.

The unions recognised reality and took ownership and responsibility for the entitlement plans.

I think we should at least contemplate a similar arrangement with the Firefighters Association.

If the  Association sincerely believes they speak with greater authority than the municipalities for commitment  and quality of  service, I think they should  put their money where their mouths are. They should have full responsibility for the efficiency and cost of providing the service.

I think we should contract out the service. I believe there is plenty of  opportunity for fire companies to be formed and participate in the bidding process right here in River City ... in the Greater Toronto Area.
We have not had a signed contract with the Association for more than four years. 

I heard of a Toronto Firefighter who lives in Vancouver. His wife is an air hostess. He gets free flights. He flies across a couple of times a month for a couple or four days, completes his shifts living at the firehall and flies back to Vancouver to enjoy the  lifestyle of his choosing.

Nice work if you can get it.


Anonymous said...

Do you know why it's so darn quiet over on the AC blog?

Anonymous said...

Not only should the fire service be contracted out , its high time the insurance companies started to pay their share for the service they so badly depend on to save them money. Heaven forbid your house catches fire , but if it does , get every one out , including the firemen and let it burn to the ground , Why should the tax payers be subsidising big insurance companies with our local fire service, Let the firemen contiune to sleep and call the insurence comany in the morning !