Bristol public service workers have a simple message for the City Council: “It’s Unwise to Privatize.”
“Responsible leaders know that joint labor-management partnerships are the best way to provide public services effectively and efficiently,” said Payroll/Benefits Manager and AFSCME Local 233 President Mayra Sampson, whose union represents city workers.
Sampson, a Bristol resident, and other city union members spoke against a push by City Council Republicans to explore privatizing public services such as sanitation, park maintenance and information technology.
“The men and women I represent are proud public servants,” said Paul Keegan, a Bristol resident who works as a Bucket Driver for the city Department of Public Works and is President of AFSCME Local 1338, representing DPW workers. “I’m puzzled as to why members of the city council, without even talking to us for our ideas, are advocating privatization.”
The concerns of Keegan and Sampson were echoed in a recent New Britain Herald editorial, which noted that privatization "has to be looked at from all sides, including its potential for corruption, lower-quality services and the total cost — including sending tax dollars out of the city."
More than 150 union members and supporters took their concerns to the public on April 10, with a rally in front of City Hall, after which members spoke before the Bristol City Council at its monthly meeting.