Many of us involved with Block the Boat actions want to carry forward the momentum we gathered while opposing apartheid commerce in the Northwest in 2014. Though our region has many worthy causes in 2015, the ‘Year of Resistance’, it makes natural sense to us at this juncture to roll our efforts into working with Stop Veolia Seattle.
A brief examination of Veolia’s local history shows a company intent on extracting maximum profit from its contract with King County Metro to provide Access transportation services for the elderly and folks with disabilities. Veolia has consistently overstated its benefit to the community while understating its costs; In fact, costs have gone up $7 million, though Veolia was supposed to deliver $1 million in savings. Veolia has also lied to King County, claiming that a name change to Transdev represents no change in ownership when in fact there is a 50% change in ownership to a French financial institution. What else is Veolia lying about?
The degree of uncertainty and dissatisfaction surrounding Veolia’s current contract has prompted action at the highest levels of local government. Local transit labor leaders have called for an audit and “immediate steps to end the contracting out of Access service”. King County is expected to make an announcement about the terms of its current contract with Veolia on Monday the 20th of April 2015. The Stop Veolia Seattle coalition will meet at the Hillman City Collaboratory on Monday April 20th at 6:30PM to form a response to the Monday announcement.
Block The Boat Northwest stands in solidarity with international calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions spelled out in the Palestinian Civil Society’s call for BDS at http://www.bdsmovement.net/call that specifically names Veolia for participating in human rights violations. Veolia has recently lost major European contracts due to its unwillingness to abide by basic human rights and labor principles in occupied Palestine and around the world.
Block The Boat Northwest recognizes that Veolia’s anti-labor business practices in King County are reason enough to oppose its current contract and any modification that would expand its presence in the region. Public infrastructure and essential services should not be profit centers for anti-labor corporate raiders with open-ended service contracts whose purpose is to maximize profit at the expense of Seattle/King County taxpayers and Metro riders.
The Block the Boat Northwest Coalition