CUPE Raising Alarm After Work Contracted Out to Repair Vacant NL Housing Units

The union that represents maintenance workers at NL Housing Corporation is raising the alarm over work being contracted out.

The provincial government has issued a call for bids to renovate and repair 143 shuttered NL Housing units in the province.

CUPE Local 1860 says that instead of filling job vacancies and paying overtime to help fix up units, government is contracting out the work.

President Jerry Butler says a study done years ago by CUPE and the Housing Corporation showed that contractors charge 25 to 30 per cent more to do the work.

He also says units have been sitting vacant for years, with many only needing small repairs at first. He says needed work on the units has been left for so long that the repairs grow into larger jobs.

Butler says staff shortages are a factor in the availability of subsidized housing, and he believes if more attention was paid to addressing that issue, government would not have to go to the private sector, at what he says will be greater cost, to get the job done.

“Our workers, if given overtime, would still come in cheaper than contractors would” says Butler, “We have a lot of job vacancies as well.” He believes if those vacancies were filled, there may not be as many NL Housing units boarded up and vacant.

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