ATTENTION ATU LOCAL 1433 MEMBERS
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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”
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
· 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”
· 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”
· 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
· “Company-funded life insurance.”
· Another issue that is not in dispute as this too has been in the labor agreement for about 20 years.
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.
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.
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.
Michael L. Cornelius
Amalgamated Transit Union