Public Values

Toronto Hydro: Keep Telecom Public!

CUPE Local One members from Toronto Hydro Telecom take their anti-privatization message to the streets.

Peter Julian, MPby CUPE

Despite a snowstorm that created rush hour havoc, about 140 people turned out for an early morning information picket to send a strong message that Torontonians will not tolerate privatization of any part of their municipal electrical utility.

Members and retirees from CUPE Local One were joined by other locals, CUPE Ontario executive board members, Ontario Federation of Labour President Wayne Samuelson, Toronto and York Region Labour Council President John Cartwright, and NDP MPPs Peter Tabuns and Cheri DiNovo to let the people of Toronto know they could lose the telecommunications company that they own.

Toronto Hydro announced in January that it would seek expressions of interest from potential buyers of its wholly-owned, revenue-generating Toronto Hydro Telecom. The company, built by Toronto electricity ratepayers, owns and sells services related to the city's fibre optics network and its downtown WiFi network.

"The people of Toronto own Toronto Hydro, but the appointed board is moving toward the sale of Telecom without any public consultation or input," said Pauline Niles, president of CUPE Local One. "Decisions about this valuable piece of modern revenue-generating infrastructure are too important to make behind closed doors."

Niles took that message and a demand for public consultations to the Hydro board of directors, who were meeting inside the building where the picket line was set up.

You can support the fight against privatizing Toronto Hydro Telecom, by sending a message to board chair Clare Copeland and CEO David O'Brien.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada's largest union.

With 570,000 members across Canada, CUPE represents workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines.

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Posted: March 25, 2008

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