On September 17, 2014 the MLK County Labor Council unanimously passed the following 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.
In this age of austerity, working and poor people have been made to pay for the under-funding of public transit again and again. Transit riders pay when service is cut, when fares go up, and when regressive taxes are raised to fill the gap. Bus drivers pay when they are forced into contract concessions, find their working conditions deteriorating, or lose their jobs to private contractors. As bus riders, we understand the importance of standing up for the rights of our drivers. We understand the importance of solidarity. Without the labor movement there would be no stable jobs and no foundation for stable families, neighborhoods, and communities.
A few years ago, King County extended their contract with the private corporation Veolia to operate most of their Access fleet. This is not acceptable. We will not stand by and watch as stable, family-supporting union jobs are replaced with poorly paid, precarious jobs. Furthermore, Metro drivers appreciate their responsibility in providing a vital public service. Underpaid and poorly treated Veolia drivers cannot be expected to provide the same standard of care. The Transit Riders Union supports Stop Veolia Seattle’s demand that King County terminate its contract with Veolia and restore these jobs to union drivers.
BAYAN Pacific Northwest stands in strong solidarity with people around the world fighting against multi-national corporations attempting to privatize basic needs, like access to water and sanitation services. We are in full support of the Stop Veolia Seattle Campaign advocating that King County cease its contract with Veolia to operate the Metro Access program, a transportation service for disabled and elderly residents.
BAYAN Pacific Northwest is a strong supporter of the United Nations Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights affirmation that access to water is a condition for the enjoyment of the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of health and therefore a human right. We affirm the belief that access to water is a human right and should not be a profit-generating commodity. However, Veolia is the largest privatizer of water in the world, which includes water and sewage contracts in Manila, Philippines.
This corporation is also complicit in the continuing oppression of communities across Palestine and Israel. From their illicit subsidiaries supporting illegal settlements on Palestinian land to normalizing Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands through transportation contracts, Veolia is a giant octopus of corruption whose tentacles of profit opportunistically squirm into the crevices of developing countries across the world.
This company makes millions in profits off privatizing basic needs, occupation, and segregation.
In addition, Veolia has a long history of union-busting and hostility to its workers’ collective right to organize. This includes King County’s Metro Access program, despite the fact that King County Metro transit operators’ long history of union representation. In severing union contracts and paying workers below that of union wages, Veolia once again demonstrates their priorities of profit over people.
We join Filipino Americans and allies globally in resisting Veolia’s attempts to profit from water and sanitation, to profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine, to profit by eliminating living wage union jobs.
From Seattle to the Philippines, no to privatization! No to contracts with Veolia!