Encourage Councillor Bailao to Oppose Privatization of Public Services!

Public consultations to review (i.e. cut) core city services are underway.

Please contact Councillor Bailao to tell her you do not support this agenda:councillor_bailao@toronto.ca
Sample Email:

Dear Councillor Bailao,

As a resident of your ward, I am writing you to let you know that I
oppose Mayor Rob Ford's move to privatize public services and when you
vote at council on May 18&19, I ask that you do the same.

When I look around, I see the many challenges that our community
faces. Too many of us are struggling, looking for work, underemployed,
living on the edge, or living in poverty. Too many of us are
struggling to find access to affordable child care, or reliable and
affordable transit. Privatization of public services will only
amplify these problems that face our community.

I love our community and I know that you do too. I ask that you stand
with the residents of your ward to prevent privatization, make a
commitment to your community and vote to protect public services.

Thank You,

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Discussion on Privatization of Garbage

I've really enjoyed the discussion and I thought I would chime in, since I have a bit of a background in the area of business and industrial relations.

Several years ago I studied privatization of Ontario prisons: I was interested in where the cost-savings were coming from. I was disappointed to learn that most of the cost savings were coming not from innovative approaches, but from coercive approaches, such as reducing salaries, reducing training, hiring less qualified staff, hiring less staff, and compromising safety. One of my findings was that prison guards were doing escorts without back-up and working without breaks.

I should mention that there are also some examples where a mutually-beneficial labour relationship has emerged in privatization, and where employees have received higher wages, and management has been able to eliminate costly over-time and part-time work through job redesign.

The point I am trying to make is that we should be asking where the cost-savings from garbage privatization will be coming from? Will we be seeing unsafe garbage trucks on our streets that are, for example, over-filled and unable to brake properly? Will we see poorly trained garbage men? Or will we be seeing new and more efficient technology used in garbage collection?

Knowing what I know, my assumption is that privatization of garbage will produce cost-savings as a result of coercive approaches, because garbage collection like prison management is very staff-intensive, and doesn't lend itself easily to a lot of innovation.

The other thing we need to consider is once the City sells off all the garbage trucks, the City will not be in the same bargaining position with respect to future contracts. The garbage trucks and the City's ability to deliver garbage services is its best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). Once the BATNA changes, the City may have a more difficult time negotiating a good contract. We all know that you get the best deal when you are able and willing to walk away from your purchase.

Anyway, I would prefer to see careful experimentation versus ideological swings.

The High Cost Of Low Prices

I have traveled across the US and seen how the "lets pay the lowest amount possible" concept has decimated the country. You see it in the retail sector where things are cheap at Wal-Mart but the downtowns have been hollowed out and mainstreet is a shell and all the jobs are in China. And what jobs do remain are making the US a new sweatshop.


Things are cheap but working families are a paycheck or disease from going under. Special volunteer "medical camps" are sprouting up across the US to do free medical clinics for the working underclass who cant ever get ahead. Towns are closing libraries and public health departments and schools so they can provide tax breaks to corporations because there are no local jobs anymore, or ones that pay a living wage. The saying "you get what you pay for" sadly really rings true as in the book "The High Cost Of Low Prices".

The idea that privatizing public services has been discredited as towns fall into bankruptcy because they dont have a tax base any more and everybody is making 7 dollars an hour with no benefits at all. You can always find somebody who will do stuff cheap but what is the larger cost to the community when people have no security? Somebody is making money but it is not the regular folk. How is privatization doing?


For those that follow real news instead of populist chants that appeal to our baser selfish interests the evidence is clear. The lowest price and privatization works against the working person and lines the pockets of others while costing the larger society as a whole a lot more. As stated above when cities and towns loose the bargaining power they have and become beholden to market forces the only people who win are the companies. In case anybody has forgot, the free market is not interested in the community, not interested in the common good, not interested in reducing poverty or improving literacy; its only interested in profit.

Followers of Mike Harris and Rob Ford and Kevin O'Leary never seem to realize (like the book "Whats Wrong With Kansas") that they are in the end acting against their own best interest but by the time only lawyers can afford to buy a house in Toronto, by the time there are no free services for children or immigrants, by the time all public property is sold off to corporations it will be too late. It always amazes me how people who pretend to be for the "working family" and less advantaged so easily duped by the merchants of profit. Privatization and its variations and the common good are at opposite ends of the spectrum and to think otherwise is delusional. Spend less time listening to Ford and more time reading the newspapers to see where his "vision" has taken the US. You are being played.

The High Cost Of Low Prices 2

Here are a few more examples of how privatization has not worked in the US.

"Unlike the public sector, the private sector is bred to maximize profits. Left to its own devices, it will always find a more profitable way to provide services even when that means increasing their cost..."

The real underlying point is that there no longer is a true free market so there is no real competition.


Other cities across Canada have private garbage pick-up

I have a cousin in pickering they seem to be happy with their garbage pick-up. They say the drivers are friendly and they do a good job. I hope now Windsor will follow and privatize as well, they should not have to put up with what they had to indore last year. Also the people in Etobicoke are happy as well with the service they are receiving.

I didn't hear about runaway trucks and stuff. However I did see my share my bad service from our Toronto Garbage collectors. I had to change my green bin twice. Leaving trash on the street and seen green bins in flower beds. So it's not perfect

As far as the training you keep mentioning, it don't mean much if you are not in your job mentally. I was taught whatever your job is, do it and do it well. With this lot is about money, never enough. If you can't take the smell don't do it, this is not for everyone.

There is another part to the privatization of garbage and that is the strikes, no one wants them anymore. We shouldn't have to walk our garbage to no park, we pay a lot of taxes for this service. Until the playing fields are more fair you are going to get this division among those in favour of unions and those who are not. JF

Who knew garbage could be so interesting?

I have to say my service has been pretty good with the exception of the strike; I put out a big piece of furniture last week and I was impressed and happy to see it hauled away. I don't take out the garbage at my house, so I probably wouldn't know about the general state of things after pick-up.

It is interesting to hear that privatization is working in other cities -- I haven't researched this issue closely. I know Etobicoke, which has privatized services has roughly similar level service to Toronto (i.e., similar number of complaints recorded), but I also know the garbage collectors have significantly poorer contracts and aren't paid for sick days. I would really have to rationalize whether a potential tax break to Toronto residents is a better societal good than good quality jobs for several thousand garbage collectors (definitely an interesting question). Most labour economists will tell you that poor jobs do not contribute to the economy; the economy relies on workforce participants who have disposable income and feel secure spending it. Also, there are societal costs associated with poor jobs, which are hard to quantify, but interesting to think about.

If a deal is reached for privatization, I hope the contract establishes service levels, and includes out clauses and dispute resolution clauses. Unfortunately contracts do not cover how the work gets done (the control issue), which is always an interesting issue. I would recommend the City holds onto its fleet of trucks and continues to have some capacity for garbage collection, so that it can maintain a strong negotiating position with respect to future contracts. As long as thinking and logic is applied, things should be okay. I hope any contracts are made public, so we know how the City is spending tax money.

Lastly, it is an interesting misconception that privatization means there won't be a union. Contracts generally give the union successor rights. And some unionized workplaces are great examples of effectiveness and efficiency and some are not; same thing with non-unionized workplaces.

What do you think?

Just watching your Councillor at the Garbage debate. Is she making any sense? We're not in your ward but your website is more interesting than ours.

Typical responses, but no surprised

Not surprised with your responses.

When the garbage strike was on and their many seniors and others with disabilities, taking their garbage with canes, walkers and wheele chairs, struggling to bring their garbage bags to Campbell Park. I didn't hear you or the others who are posting say anything about that.

Or when people were left stranded from one side of the City to the other. Women and young people who couldn't get home because the TTC decided to strike after midnight, I guess your mother, sister or kids were not on the TTC that night, or else your would responded differently. Family worries about their loved ones because they didn't know how to get home

Now that someone is trying to do something about this from happaening again, you guys blame Rob Ford, nobody to blame but greedy unions and the ndp, the ndp say their are for the people until their is a strike and screw everyone else. What a joke:

I'm supporting Rob Ford and I will email Ana Bailao and Lisa Rainford so they can hear from both sides. JF

Privatization is not the answer

I'm struggling with your assumption that privatization is the answer to the the scenarios you speak to in your message. When we outsource services, such as garbage collection, we loose the opportunity even more so than in a public system to put pressure to maintain the integrity of those services and the integrity of the employment standards of those delivering these services. Go ahead and support Ford's agenda; because it seems to me that you can afford to pay more for your garbage collection. It is a misconception that a public system costs more, a total lie, in fact. It's just a matter of where the money is going. Less to the unionized employee, yes. Much, much more to line the pockets of private companies executives. I, however, care more about the standards of living for those in my community than personal profit (which seems to me to be the most simple difference between those on the left and those on the right).

I encourage all of us to take a less short-sighted view of privatization and we'll see seniors on a fixed income driven further into poverty. In this scenario, necessary public and social services that subside the living expenses of low income seniors will be cut to reallocate those funds to cover the high cost of garbage collection in a private system. I'm assuming that you're social location finds you in a privileged position so that you won't be effected in a private system like the number of city workers who will be faced with the choice of accepting gross pay reductions or loose their jobs, job security and experience of ethical employment practices. Or when TTC is privatized and women and their children cannot afford to pay fare for TTC. At all. Further, I find it quite insulting that you presume to know more about the hardships of being a woman when access to services are limited.

Do your research, what happens to services and people's access to those services in a private system? Support Ford and I guarantee you will see your community devastated indefinitely to a much greater degree than in the time limited union strikes you point to.

thank you Lisa

I will be following your lead and sending a letter to Ana Bailao.

Sorry, you are Not to convincing

Lisa T.,
I can see us going back and forth on this subject.

Like many other thousands of Torontonians, we will be supporting Rob Ford. I think we had enough with the BS. I have to disagree. I think the garbage collection in Etobicoke is going well, people, residents, taxpayers are all happy. I spoke to few garbage collectors in Etobcoke a few years back, they seem to be happy with what they were earning, no complaints

You speak about the effect on women, children and seniors, like there not effected now. When I mentioned in my last post about the TTC leaving people stranded in the middle of the night across the City, was that alright with you. It wasn't for me. Respect is two ways, that was not respectful or fair.

I think there is a place for Unions and they have done alot to change the world racist practice, unfair immigartion policies. women's equality and safe work place and so on, but at the same time I think it's gotten out of hand.

Someone needed to say enough. Ford is doing that with the blessings of Toronto Residents. The Union don't like it when they don't get their way. They are scared now, they finally had someone stand up to them. We seen what is happening with the abuse with City workers. The scandle with TCHC. The are are in unions or union supporters. greed, greed , greed.

Lastly I find it quite insulting when services were not provided when your unions went on strike and the services were not avaliable to low income and vulnerable citizens. When city dental, city welfare, city clinics, city daycare, clean parks, ttc wasn't avaliable. Oh that was okay for Lisa, because lisa doesn't use those services. I know many who did. They weren't happy even for a short time.

I'm not tying to convince you.

You're right. We could go back and forth forever. But I'm not interested in doing that. I can see that you care about our community as much as I do. We simply disagree about how to address it's ills. Jack, where you're mistaken is in your belief that I'm trying to change your opinion. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I want the opportunity to express my beliefs and rally the support of those who share my values. I believe in democracy and you have a right to your opinion. Instead of further escalating this debate I'm going to sign off here.

For those who would like to read more about my position and would like some further reading, I'll leave you with this:

Important letter

Thanks to Lisa for posting this. It's crucial to be vigilant right now and resist Rob Fords corporate agenda. His cuts will harm, not help working people in our ward, as Lisa's letter eloquently points out . Ana should receive a clear message from her constituents on how to vote in Council on these privatization issues.

Garbage privatization votes

As you have likely heard Council went ahead with privatization with some strings added including having council input on awarding the contract.
Vote was 32-13, with following councillors voting against.
Maria Augimeri, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Pam McConnell, Joe Mihevc, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam
See council minutes for additional motions & votes