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Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433

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Members of Local 1433 who are also VOTERS, CITY









           Bargaining/Strike Update



International President Larry Hanley has given Strike Authorization.


Your Negotiating Team, International VP McLean, the Federal Mediator, and Veolia are currently discussing dates to return to the bargaining table.


Please continue to report to work until further instructions are given.




Thank You,

Your Negotiating Team



August 23, 2011


A response to Veolia CEO Mark Joseph’s paid advertisement in today’s paper;


      Amalgamated Transit Union Local #1433 read the full page advertisement that Veolia Transportation CEO Mark Joseph took out in today’s paper.  It is amazing that the CEO of a major International Corporation, and a contractor to the City of Phoenix could be so incredibly misinformed as to take a full page ad out in a paper and fill it with lies and untruthful statements.  I thought that I would clear up some of the lies told by this City contractor.  So that all can follow along, I will respond bullet point by bullet point.



         “Veolia operates bus service under contract to the city of Phoenix.”

ATU Response:

         The Mayor of the City of Phoenix Phil Gordon is dating a Veolia consultant who helped Veolia prepare for this contract worth $388,000,000 million dollars. 

         Veolia was also awarded $28,000,000 million dollars to cover liabilities for the Pension Plan that was FROZEN by Veolia and also to cover employee sick time liabilities; that Veolia is now demanding that employees give back.

         The City of Phoenix, while under some assumed “financial situation” is paying Veolia over the term of their contract an INCREASE over 12.1%.

         The FTA is currently investigating how Veolia was awarded this incredibly lucrative city contract.


         “Our top drivers earn the highest wages of all drivers in the Phoenix area, including Tempe and Mesa.  The top 100 bus drivers earn salaries that average over $63,000, and the top 500 drivers average more than $50,000.”

ATU Response:

         The current top wage for Veolia Operators in the Valley is $22.41.  That actually adds up to a yearly GROSS of $46,612.80.  This is just another example of a Corporate CEO whose personal salary is in the millions who is so incredibly disassociated from his employees that he actually has no clue as to how much they actually make. This is just another lie from Veolia who is trying to gain some sympathy and who is desperate to make the employees the bad guys.

         This dispute has never been solely over wages, it has been a result of Veolia’s admitted unlawful actions.





         “Despite the economic boundaries set by the City’s financial situation, our current proposal to the ATU would provide modest wage increases for all drivers, which are on top of already high wage levels.  We will also pay a 3.25% contribution to 401k, with no contribution required by employees.”

ATU Response:

         There is no apparent economic boundary placed upon Veolia by the City of Phoenix. Veolia’s questionable contract is worth over $388 million dollars.  Veolia was also given an additional $28 million and a percentage increase of over 12% during the term.

         This dispute has never been solely over wages. 

         Under Veolia’s offer, bus operators will actually see a decrease in the income level by the end of the deal, based on pay freezes, almost impossible to see pay increases and incredibly high increases to the employee’s contributions to the health care plan.

         The 3.25% contribution was actually carried over from the 2005 contract when Veolia froze employees’ Pension Plans.


         “We pay an average of 90% of health care premiums (including eye care and dental) for all employees.  This is significantly higher than the average person in Phoenix whose employer pays 75% of health insurance premiums if they have a family and 79% if single.”

ATU Response:

         The health care contribution level is a carry-over from the 2005 contract.  At that time, employees took 1.15% of their earnings (NOT VEOLIA) and agreed to place that percentage into a contribution to offset health care cost increases.

         Veolia is actually proposing to cut their contributions to employee health care costs by 50%.


         “Top pay scale can be reached in five years through wage progressions and merit raises.  This is a much more rapid progression to the top scale than many other cities.”

ATU Response:

         Veolia has spent over 14 months attempting to force a nine (9) year progression to top wage.  A significantly lower rate; lower than not only other cities in the valley but also a longer progression to top wage than most transit employers in the country.

         There is actually NO MERIT RAISES built into Veolia’s final offer.  Veolia has also never even proposed such a thing, nor was it even discussed at the bargaining table.  Just another example of a Corporate CEO who cannot make a truthful statement.










         “Up to 5 weeks of vacation annually”

ATU Response:

         Another example of Veolia’s lies, indicative of their actions over the last 14 months and their Un-American values.

         Veolia has only proposed an overall reduction in vacation time.


         “11 paid holidays annually; 2 floating holidays; birthdays off with pay”

ATU Response:

         The City of Phoenix requires reduced service on these holidays and as such the service is reduced.  Not out of the kindness of Veolia’s heart.  Also, these holidays have been in the labor agreement for about 20 years.  The 2 floating holidays have been in the labor agreement for about 20 years and the birthdays have been in the labor agreement for about 20 years.  None of these issues are a cause for the current conflict and Mr. Joseph again is so misinformed by his own local management team that again he cannot offer a truthful statement.


         “May accrue up to 60 days of sick leave”

ATU Response:

         Veolia, for over 14 months has ONLY proposed a 35 day cap from 144 day cap on employee sick time levels.

         The ATU agreed to reduce employee sick time caps from 144 days to 60 days.

         That ATU concession accounts to over $9,400,000 million dollars’ worth of concessions.


         “Short term disability coverage”

ATU Response:

         This issue is not in dispute and it is unclear as to why Mr. Joseph has made this an issue for this paid advertisement.  Short term disability is standard practice for most employers these days.


         “Company-funded life insurance.”

ATU Response:

         Another issue that is not in dispute as this too has been in the labor agreement for about 20 years.


Mr. Joseph goes on in his letter to again try and make some public statement about wages.  It is apparent that he wants the public to believe that this dispute is only about wages.  Since he brought it up, Mr. Joseph’s company Veolia Transportation increased the wages of the local General Manager by over $53,000 dollars annually.  The local General Manager also received several perks, among which were a free car, a free apartment, free flights to Las Vegas every other weekend and several other increases.  All of the other local managers received huge pay increases and perks, such as free cars.  The ATU has never made wages a big issue for this contract, even while managers were accepting huge increases.  The CEO himself is reported to bring in over $2,000,000 million annually.


The fact is that Veolia has been engaging in unlawful activity for well over a year.  They have been charged with “bad faith bargaining” by the National Labor Relations Board and have conceded to it.  After they conceded to their unlawful actions, Veolia replaced the attorney representing them, who got them involved in this convoluted scheme to increase their profits out of the pockets of their employees and the residents of the City of Phoenix.  Veolia clearly, through their actions do NOT value their employees.  Veolia wants the public to think that they have a tough economic climate.  Veolia through a personal relationship with the mayor has been given a contract worth almost a half a billion dollars.  As to Mr. Josephs comment related to the Teamsters and Operating Engineers, Veolia unlawfully locked out the Teamster (See 28-CA-23189 and 28-CA-23207) and was forced to return those employees back to work with full back wages.  It is unclear at this time as to why the Teamsters accepted a contract proposal that undercuts their wages and their benefits to help increase Veolia’s profits.  As for the Operating Engineers, all that we know is that Veolia promoted one of the Union negotiators after a contract agreement had been reached.


The members of the Amalgamated Transit Union are proud of the work that they do and the service that they provide to the community.  They have endured over a year of bad faith bargaining by Veolia Transportation.  They have not received a pay increase for over two (2) years.  The very simple reality here is that the ATU would not be taking a strike vote, had Veolia not forced the issue by throwing a best and final offer across the table.  We at the ATU have been bargaining in good faith with the intent to reach a fair resolution from day one of bargaining.  Veolia is forcing this vote now.  Don’t believe their lies.  Their goal from day one was to increase their profits at any expense, out of the pockets of taxpayers, and now their employees.




Thank you,



Michael L. Cornelius

Vice President

Amalgamated Transit Union

Local 1433





On Tuesday August 9, 2011 representatives from Veolia Transportation (a Phoenix city contractor, who manages public transit services) gave the ATU negotiating team a document that they identified as their "best and final." 


         The members of The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1433 will be voting on this "offer" this Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  The forced "offer" is expected to be massively rejected.


         On January 29, 2010 the ATU sent Veolia a request to negotiate for a successor agreement for the contract that was set to expire on June 30, 2010.  Veolia refused to meet with the Union until the end of June, 2010 (about six (6) months later).  Veolia has had a revolving door of negotiators and ultimately ended up using about 4 different sets of negotiators. 


         After months of complaints to the labor board regarding the ATU's complaints that Veolia was engaging in "Bad Faith Bargaining" the labor board finally issued a complaint accusing Veolia of "Bad Faith Bargaining."  Veolia Transportation has recently conceded to the labor board that they have in fact been engaging in bad faith bargaining for over a year. 


         Veolia is a city contractor who has signed an agreement with the City of Phoenix for five (5) years for three hundred and eighty-eight ($388,000,000) million dollars.  Veolia also was given twenty-eight ($28,000,000) million dollars more of tax payer dollars to cover sick time and pension liabilities. 


         Due in part to the Mayor of Phoenix personal relationship with a Veolia lobbyist (his girlfriend) the FTA is now investigating how Veolia was awarded this contract.


         Veolia (after making huge profits, increasing the wages of management, getting additional monies from the city in the form of waivers for performance failures, engaging in over a year of bad faith bargaining) has decided that now is the time to place their final strangle hold over the citizens of the city by forcing a vote on a contract that is only designed to force employees into give backs.  Why do they want these give backs?  Is it the economy?  Veolia's contract with the City of Phoenix grants them over a 12% increase for their contract, but they are offering zero for their employees.  Veolia only wants concessions from employees to report higher profits, than they are already getting off of the taxpayers. 


         Are Veolia's profits going back into the community?  Veolia is a French company that creates nothing for the community that they operate in; they are a sponge, soaking up as much profit as they can, all off of the backs of their blue collar American workers. 


         The members of the ATU decided months ago (when the contract actually expired) that they were going to continue working, even when Veolia unlawfully locked out another Union and was forced to pay those employees back wages.  The members of the ATU decided long ago that they would only walk off of the job as an absolute last resort, when Veolia gave them no other option.  The members of the ATU are proud of the relationships that they have developed with their passengers.  The members of the ATU are proud of their safe driving records and the many safety awards that have been given to them. 


         This issue is not over dollars and cents; Veolia has stated from the beginning that they can pay.  This is about an attack on the middle class and the American work force.  This foreign company does not care if there is a strike and you cannot get t work.  The city has agreed to waive any fine for that as well.  Looks like the mayors relationship has worked out well for Veolia, but what about you, the citizens?  The ATU cares, they have kept working without a contract for over a year.  They have stood their ground, endured tough times, all to continue safely moving you. 


         This attack on public transit by the Mayor and Veolia must not be allowed to happen.  Call the Mayor, call the City Council, Call Debbie Cotton who is the Public Transit Director and demand that this attack on your ride end now. 




In loving memory of our Brother Dennis Auman


Brothers and Sisters of ATU Local 1433,


It is with a heavy heart that I must bring to you the sad news that one of our own has passed away.  Our Brother Dennis Auman passed away on July 19, 2011.  Dennis Auman joined Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1433 on February 17, 2011.  Brother Auman always remained a member in good standing.  Brother Auman retired from Veolia Phoenix, then known as ATC, on February 18, 2005.  Brother Auman embodied the spirit and brotherhood that is core to the idea of Union.  Brother Auman was a true brother to the ATU.  After his retirement, Brother Auman continued to check in with the Hall and he even stopped by now and again to drop off doughnuts.  Speaking on a personal level, the sudden passing of Brother Auman has affected me greatly.  I truly enjoyed our conversations and he truly was a man to be looked up to.  He stood his ground on the picket line and he voiced his opinions on the meeting floor.  In my opinion, Brother Auman is and always will be a brother to not only the Amalgamated Transit Union, but the labor movement as a whole.  We offer our most heartfelt condolences to the family of our Union brother, may he truly rest in peace.  We should never forget his sense of brotherhood and unity to his fellow Union brothers and sisters.  Those of us who he leaves behind will greatly miss him.


In Solidarity,

Michael L. Cornelius

Vice President

ATU Local 1433







National Labor Relations Board Files Official Complaint Against City Bus Servicer for Labor Practice Violations


Phoenix, AZ (May 6, 2011) – The Amalgamated Transit Union (“ATU”) announced today that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has filed an official complaint in federal court against Veolia Transportation Services (“Veolia”), the $45 billion-dollar multi-national corporation that services the city’s bus routes, for allegations of severe labor practice violations.


ATU Local 1433, which represents bus operators across Phoenix, filed an initial complaint with the NLRB this February, alleging that Veolia, among other things, has refused to negotiate a new contract for its operators in good faith. Despite the fact that their contract expired last October, ATU operators have refused to strike and have continued working and attempting to negotiate with their employee.


“Our members continue to show up to work every day because they know the people of Phoenix need to get to work too,” said Bob Bean, President of ATU Local 1433. “We’ve been trying to negotiate with Veolia since January of 2010, and Phoenix’s bus operators still do not have a contract. It’s clear that Veolia executives are purposefully negotiating to an impasse, and we’re incredibly hopeful that this NLRB complaint is a wake-up call. Abusing your workforce and trying to shortcut hard-earned labor requirements is not only inexcusable – it’s illegal.”


According to the official order handed down this week by the NLRB, the federal government found enough evidence in the ATU’s original grievance to file a complaint on every single allegation set forward by the ATU. These include, but are not limited to: failing to negotiate in good faith, refusing to arbitrate grievances for terminated employees, eliminating dues check off, and attempting to unilaterally cut operators’ sick time. The NLRB complaint requires Veolia to stand trial before an administrative law judge. The first hearing is scheduled for May 24, 2011.


Veolia, a massive French business conglomerate, is already under investigation by the Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”) over allegations that the company received the $385 million dollar bus contract from the City of Phoenix due to several Veolia executives’ close ties to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. 


About the Amalgamated Transit Union


The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members in 264 local unions spread across 44 states and nine provinces. Composed of bus drivers, light rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit and municipal employees, the ATU works to promote transit issues and fights for the interests of its hard-working members. For more information, please visit: