City council votes to contract out caretaking at city hall

·2 min read

Windsor City Council narrowly passed a plan to contract out cleaning services at city hall.

After a contentious debate, Mayor Drew Dilkens voted to break a tie, leading to a 6-5 vote.

Proponents of the outsourcing say it will save the city money, but those opposed say it will put city workers in a precarious position. The city has said no one will lose their job as part of the contracting.

The recommended bid to the city came from GDI Services for $543,540 per year for three years. That amount is $302,349 less per year than the current cost of using city workers.

Seven full-time employees and seven part-time employees currently clean the two city hall buildings at city hall campus.

Union worries about part-time workers

CUPE Local 543 president Dave Petten said although full-time employees will not lose their jobs, he has concerns about the part-time workers. He said the union has been told the part-timers will be moved to other areas — but he adds that in many cases, they are working more than part-time hours and may have those hours reduced as a result of the contracting.

"Our part-timers have come to depend on those full-time hours now that they've been getting them," he said.

Petten added while the union did see some support for their position on council, he was disappointed with the vote.

"At the end of the day, there are no winners here," he said. "I don't think the community actually wins out on this, certainly our members don't win out on it, and more specifically our caretakers are on the losing end of this."

"What council decided to do today was ship truckloads of money up the road to a contractor to make them a little bit richer," he continued.

Cost savings or hypocrisy?

Ward 1 Coun. Fred Francis, who voted in favour of the outsourcing, cited the cost savings as the reason for his decision.

"When I know I'm able to provide the same service, or service that's comparable to the level we want or are used to at a lower cost, it's hard for me not to move in that direction," he said at the council meeting Monday.

But to Ward 8 Coun. Gary Kaschak, who voted against, the contract savings represented hypocrisy.

"I ask how can we as a council really be taken seriously when we speak about buying local, about supporting local workers, supporting retail, major businesses, small retail, when are a driver of outsourcing," he said at council.

"It really sends an incredibly mixed message."

How they voted

Councillors Jim Morrison, Fred Francis, Jeewen Gill, Jo-Anne Gignac and Ed Sleiman voted in favour.

Councillors Chris Holt, Gary Kaschak, Rino Bortolin, Fabio Costante and Kieran McKenzie voted against.