Solidarity Works – July 23rd in Seattle, July 24th in Tacoma – Boston School Bus Drivers Discuss their Victory over Veolia


Please join A. Philip Randolph, Stop Veolia Seattle, Amalgamated Transit Union local 587 and our co-sponsors in welcoming 4 Boston school bus drivers and a 5th member of Team Solidarity to Seattle and Tacoma July 23rd + 24th for Solidarity Works. Video appearance by Monica Lewis-Patrick on Veolia’s role in the Flint lead poisoning crisis.

boston school bus drivers

When: Saturday, July 23 1-4pm
Where: Seattle Labor Temple, Hall 1
2800 1st Ave, Seattle 98121
Accessibility: wheelchair accessible, please avoid wearing chemical scents
Lunch will be served, event is free and open to the public

Sunday, July 24 6-9pm Location TBA

After more than two years of hard-fought struggle, last year the militant, fighting rank and file of the Boston School Bus Drivers Union — ­United ­Steelworkers Local 8751 — won a historic victory against global giant Veolia/Transdev, one of the most notorious capitalist union busters, as well as ­Boston Public School bosses, Boston Mayor ­Marty Walsh and their media mouthpieces.

Four fired union leaders, out of work since October 2013 on bogus charges of leading a wildcat strike, went back to work on Dec. 23, 2015. In addition to rein­statement of the four with full senior­ity rights and a substantial monetary payment, the local won a contract with economic justice and the protection of 40 years of the collective bargaining process.

Solidarity is key to the Boston school bus drivers success. “Team Solidarity” has been building power among the working class through a 40+ year commitment to racial justice, disability justice, LGBT*Q rights, local struggle and anti-colonial/anti-imperial struggle.

These drivers are truly an inspiration and have so much knowledge and experience to share with us about solidarity and building power among the working class to push corporate power back.

Veolia has been in the business of union busting for centuries. How did the Boston school bus drivers prevail?

A commitment to racial justice: USW 8751 is a rank and file union with a 42+ year history of organizing against racism in Boston, the US and throughout the world, with roots in the antiracist struggles of the 1970s and the desegregation of Boston schools in 1974, the union continues to stand strong against police terror and murder. We are also proud supporters of Freedom for Mumia Abu Jamal for over 25 years. Today the union is 98% people of color, mostly Haitian and Cape Verdean immigrants and African American, Latin@ and Asian. Members including President Andre Francois are active in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Haitian liberation party Fanmi Lavalas of Boston.

A commitment to disability justice: The union since its formation has worked in alliance with disabled folks under the leadership of the Disabled People’s Liberation Front. The union has worked with disabled activists to serve the disabled student population in Boston and in the broader disability rights movement marching for full accessibility and to defend gains they’ve been a part of winning, incl. full-service on the MBTA, and other state programs. USW 8751 has been a part of the campaign against so-called “sheltered workshops”, which exploit the labor of disabled people.

A commitment to LGBT*Q rights: The very first contract of USW 8751 in 1977 had domestic partner benefits before this was widely recognized. The contract extended medical insurance, life insurance  and all other benefits to partners of drivers in a “marital-like relationship”. In 1974 some of the founders of the union housed Leslie Feinberg (author of the cult classic trans* coming of age novel Stone Butch Blues) — they ran in the streets together standing up to racists and learned about being in solidarity with LGBT*Q folx and LGBT*Q struggles. This past year USW 8751 invited national trans* justice organizers to write the language around trans* inclusion and LGBT*Q rights which now appears in the new contract.

A commitment to local struggle: USW 8751 consistently stands and puts bodies on the line with those who are struggling in the local community — with other workers, students, parents, teachers, indigenous communities, communities being gentrified, disabled folks, LGBT*Q, immigrants, all who are oppressed. Together Team Solidarity and the community have so many impressive wins. The union local was a key part of the Coalition to Save Grove Hall Post Office, supporting all four postal worker unions in a successful fight that saved the post office in the heart of Boston’s African-American community.

A commitment to anti-colonial, anti-imperial struggle: USW 8751 sent money to support the ANC in South Africa fighting apartheid. The union consistently stands in solidarity with our Palestinian trade union brothers and sisters, marching in the streets to stop Israeli assaults, free political prisoners, and put an end to apartheid and colonization. The school bus drivers have extended their solidarity to workers all over the world, most recently to Colombian unionists facing paramilitary terror. Even in the midst of its own struggle, Local 8751 participated in the United National Antiwar Coalition’s “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad” conference in May, which drew more than 400 delegates from the U.S. and Canada.

Join the movement to fight corporate power and imperialism!

Join us in welcoming the Boston School Bus Drivers Union delegation to Seattle and Tacoma this July 23 + 24, 2016 as part of their West Coast tour!


georgia scott best background
Georgia Scott is the first African American woman treasurer of the union. She was first a bus monitor and then a bus driver for 20 years. In 1965, when Scott was only nine years old, she participated in the historic “Bloody Sunday” march for voting rights over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where she was born.

Nora Braggs was born in Mobile, Alabama. She was a school bus monitor for 10 years, and like Georgia, was able to become a bus driver because of USW local 8751’s extraordinary contract language providing special priority upgrade training and “absolute preference in hiring”. The local fought for and won this language early in contract negotiations, as a remedy for the company’s past history of racism and sexism. Nora is a shop steward and leader in many of the contract committees and is a lead organizer of Team Solidarity. Nora is very active in organizing her community thru her church.

steve verizon
Stevan Kirschbaum is a 42-year veteran driver, founding organizer and Vice President of USW 8751. He’s one of the four union leaders who were illegally fired by Veolia in November 2013. All four were voted into leadership again in April 2015, despite Veolia/Transdev attempts to divide the union. In March 2015, Stevan successfully defeated Veolia’s anti-union felony frame-up charges against him.

Claude “Tou Tou” St. Germain

Under the leadership of this Team leader, local recording secretary and Boston Fanmi Lavalas leader, the leadership has initiated an extremely popular and exciting “stewards school” held in the bus yards, with the stated purpose of training an army of new Team Solidarity leaders and sharpening the skills of the veteran leaders. The sessions also raise political campaigns, concrete solidarity with the Verizon Strike and present lessons from Local 8751’s 40+ year history.

hannah equal education
Hannah Kirschbaum has been a member of Team Solidarity since its inception and has been an active supporter of the Boston School Bus Union for many years. She assists in organizing, and participates in, rallies, picket lines, and “pack the court” actions. She helps to chronicle USW Local 8751’s struggles by contributing articles and photos to Workers World newspaper. She is currently in her final year of study at Suffolk University Law School, concentrating in Labor Law.

And by video conference: On Veolia’s Role in the Water Crisis in Flint and Detroit

Monica Lewis Patrick protest shot
Monica Lewis Patrick, MA, is an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate.  She is co-founder and now President & CEO of We the People of Detroit and has served as Director of Community Outreach & Engagement since 2009 and was recently unanimously elected by the Board to become the President & CEO.  She is an active member of the People’s Water Board Coalition, US Human Rights Network, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights(IACHR) and was named to the World Water Justice Council in October of 2015.  She is actively engaged in almost every struggle on behalf of Detroit  residents. As a former Lead Legislative Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council, under the mentorship of former City Councilwoman the Honorable JoAnn Watson, Monica has authored legislation, conducted research and delivered constituency services to thousands of city residents.

Lewis-Patrick is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Detroit where Veolia has contracted with Detroit Water & Sewerage Department throughout the water shutoff crisis, was a key decision maker in the Flint poisoning, and is likely interested in buying all or some of the southeastern Michigan regional water system.

Lewis-Patrick, has been featured on several radio and television programs; such as, “Wake Up Detroit”, “Roland Martin Show – TV One”, MSNBC News and the like.  She has also been featured in several newspapers and magazines; such as, EBONY magazine, JET magazine, The Hindustan Times, the Michigan Citizen, Voice of Detroit, Truthout, Mother Jones, Parian Magazine- Alter Mondes and a German Publication.


A WEBINAR ON GLOBAL RESISTANCE TO VEOLIA: Building Communities of Joint Struggle


To celebrate the release of the Stop Veolia Zine,

Blue Planet Project, Focus on the Global South & Stop Veolia Seattle invite you to:


Building Communities of Joint Struggle

Veolia has lost billions of dollars thanks to successful campaigns targeting Veolia for its price-gauging of public water supply and its complicity in human rights violations in Palestine. Veolia’s anti-labor practices have also been met with resistance. Yet Veolia continues to low bid and win massive new contracts. How do we continue to organize to build communities of joint struggle to protect local access to water and transportation and secure jobs?

Hear about struggles against Veolia in Asia, the campaigns against Veolia in Detroit and Boston, and the Palestinian victory against Veolia. Join the discussion about building communities of joint struggle.

10 am EST, 4 pm in Paris,
7 am Seattle, 11 pm Hong Kong, 5 pm Ramallah.

Featured guests include:

RENA LAU works with Globalization Monitor which is a labour and environmental rights advocacy group based in Hong Kong.

ADRI NIEUWHOF is a human rights advocate based in the Netherlands who has covered the BDS campaign against Veolia extensively for the electronic intifada. Twitter: @steketeh

AISHA MANSOUR is the director of the Dalia Association in Palestine and co-founder of Sharaka – Community Supported Agriculture.

TAWANA HONEYCOMB PETTY is a mother, organizer, poet and author. She is a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, and a member of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, We the People of Detroit and the People’s Water Board Coalition.

ANDRE FRANCOIS is the President of Local 8751. He’s one of the four union leaders who were illegally fired by Veolia in November 2013. All four were voted into leadership again in April 2015, despite Veolia/Transdev attempts to divide the union. Andre is very prominent in the movements for black liberation and Haitian liberation and the Palestine Solidarity movement.

STEVAN KIRSCHBAUM is a 41-year veteran driver, founding organizer and Vice President of USW 8751. He’s one of the four union leaders who were illegally fired by Veolia in November 2013. All four were voted into leadership again in April 2015, despite Veolia/Transdev attempts to divide the union. In March 2015, Stevan successfully defeated Veolia’s anti-union felony frame-up charges against him.

The webinar will be facilitated by MEERA KARUNANANTHAN, Blue Planet Project, MARY ANN MANAHAN, Focus on the Global South, & SUSAN KOPPELMAN, Stop Veolia Seattle.

The Stop Veolia Seattle Zine is Out!


After literally years of work, our 100% volunteer team has created a massive 101-page Zine with submissions from around the world documenting Veolia’s criminal anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-poor practices, alongside popular victories against Veolia in Paris and Palestine.

If you would like to print the Zine for distribution in your communities:

1. You will need the print version** of the file (which is different than the web view uploaded to Scribd.)

2. Set Adobe Reader print options to legal size 8″x14″ and to booklet setting. This guide will walk you through.

**We will update this post with a working link to the print version shortly. If you would like us to send you the file directly write to us at

Thank you for your support!

BDS marks another victory as Veolia sells off all Israeli operations


September 1, 2015

“The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its worldwide partners are celebrating the withdrawal of the huge French corporation Veolia from the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR), an illegal rail system built to facilitate the growth and expansion of Israeli colonial settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.

“The sale of its stake in the JLR project ends all of Veolia’s involvement in the Israeli market, including all projects that violate international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people.”

“Riya Hassan, the BNC’s Europe coordinator, said, ‘Veolia is still a target for union activists, environmentalists and anti-privatization campaigners, due to its record of anti-labour policies and involvement in the privatization of public water. All those still being affected by Veolia’s policies and struggling for accountability and reparations can continue to count on our solidarity. The BDS movement takes cross-struggle solidarity to heart.'”

Read the full Palestinian BDS National Committee statement.

As SVS celebrates this BDS victory, we continue to stand in solidarity with local Access riders and Access drivers to protect the Access service and these jobs from all of the injustices stemming from Veolia / Transdev’s privatization of this important public service for our disability and elderly community.

King County Councilmembers raise concerns about Veolia’s bad practices, while evidence that Veolia may have committed fraud in King County is surfacing


March 26, 2015

King County Councilmembers raise concerns about Veolia’s bad practices, while evidence that Veolia may have committed fraud in King County is surfacing


Members of the King County Council have asked King County Executive Dow Constantine to reconsider the County’s contract with Veolia and Transdev for operation of Access paratransit bus service. On March 18, Chair Larry Phillips of the King County Council sent a letter to Constantine signed by the five Democrats of the nine-person Council, urging the Executive to investigate “serious concerns for many aspects of Access service, including rider experience, labor protections and wages, and potential cost overruns to our government.”  According to Metro general manager Kevin Desmond, signing with Veoliawas supposed to save King County $1 million annually. But changes to the contract three years later approved an additional $7 million in annual costs incurred to King County.


“We thank the County Councilmembers for responding to our concerns and urging the County Executive to act,” said Katie Wilson, General Secretary of the Transit Riders Union. “We hope that Dow Constantine and Metro will act quickly and decisively to end their contract with Veolia/Transdev. Doing so will not only improve our community, it will send a strong message that union-busting multinational corporations seeking to privatize and operate our public goods and services for their own profit will not be tolerated in Martin Luther King, Jr. County.”


The letter follows a resolution from September 2014 in which the Martin Luther King County Labor Council – local affiliate of the National AFL-CIO representing over 150 labor organizations and 75,000 workers – voted unanimously to pass a resolution to end the contract with Veolia, to preclude Veolia from bidding on future contracts, and to bring Metro Access in-house. The resolution was introduced by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587.


According to Ninus Hopkins, ATU 587 Executive Board officer and Seattle Personal Transit driver, “The polices of Veolia are completely inconsistent with Executive Constantine’s stated objective of achieving Equity and Social Justice in Martin Luther King Jr. County.”


The Access program provides ADA-mandated service for folks with disabilities and the elderly, but since Veolia Transportation took over the contract in 2008, Access users report that the service has deteriorated.  Costs to the County have gone up by 30%, but Veolia/Transdev has cut training hours in half and cut back on vehicle maintenance. Access drivers report impossible scheduling of pickups, disrespectful scheduling of hours, and low wages.


The March 1st fare increases, which make our public transportation among the most expensive in the country, hit Access users hardest. Fares went up twenty-five cents for all riders except Access users, whose fares increased by fifty cents and monthly pass cost increased by $17.


Veolia is under attack internationally from labor and human rights groups for a variety of anti-labor practices and flagrant human rights abuses, including profiteering off inflated water costs as the largest privatizer of water in the world.


Veolia is also suspected of “fraudulent misrepresentation” concerning the legal ownership changes attached to its name change and rebranding. In a July 15, 2014 letter to King County Department of Transportation in Washington State, Veolia Transportation wrote: “Veolia Transportation will be going through a name change and rebranding process… There are no other changes—no changes in ownership, in management, or in any other aspect of our operations.” But in fact, Veolia Transportation Services changed its name from that of a subsidiary wholly owned by Veolia Environnement to that of a new subsidiary wholly owned by Transdev, which is presently only 50% owned by Veolia Environnement and 50% owned by a French financial institution. (Veolia Environnement has since changed its name to Veolia Group.)


“The name change of the subsidiary from Veolia Transportation Services Inc, a Maryland company, to Transdev Services Inc, undeniably represents a change in ownership,” said Susan Koppelman of Stop Veolia Seattle, an emerging coalition of local groups and residents who practice solidarity for each other alongside resistance to the Veolia/Transdev contract.  “This is a change that King County and all entities that were contracted with Veolia Transportation Services need to know about.”


If it is recognized that Transdev Services is a new entity, this suggests that when Veolia Transportation Services ceased to exist, all of its contracts should have been reopened to a public bidding process.



Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587

Norma Appel: 206-448-8588


Transit Riders Union

Katie Wilson: 206-781-7204


Stop Veolia Seattle

Susan Koppelman: 617-775-4864


MLK County Labor Council unanimously passes a Resolution Against Veolia introduced by ATU Local 587


September 17, 2014  MLK County Labor Council unanimously passes a Resolution Against Veolia introduced by ATU Local 587

WHEREAS French-based multinational corporation, Veolia, is one of the largest privatizers of public services in the world and holds the majority percentage of the contract for the operation of King County Metro Access buses; and

WHEREAS Veolia has a history of Union busting in Seattle in 2008, user dissatisfaction with Access service under its authority, and a dismal global track record of high costs and fees for poor service and infrastructure maintenance, low wages and cuts in benefits for workers, as well as violations of international law and human rights;  and

WHEREAS MLKCLC has made a commitment nationally to make common cause with struggles for social justice and workers’ rights around the world, building global solidarity to strengthen worker and union power everywhere; and

WHEREAS MLKCLC knows that privatization undermines that effort and puts workers and users of public transport at risk; be it therefore

RESOLVED that MLKCLC supports ending all contracts with Veolia in King County, bringing all bus services in house, and precluding Veolia from bidding on any future contracts in King County; and be it further

RESOLVED that this resolution be sent to 1) Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond; 2) King County Executive Dow Constantine; and 3) All members of the King County Council.