Letter to the Editor – Veolia's Response to LaborPress Article: TWU Local 252 to Vote on NICE Contract
January 11, 2012
Veolia Transportation in Nassau County, New York, appreciates the recent coverage given by Marc Bussanich in the Labor Press to the tentative agreement reached between Veolia and TWU 252. Negotiations were tough but respectful and we agree with Local 252 president Pat Bowden that the agreement reached was fair. Working with our labor partners, we believe that NICE will become a transit system that all of Nassau County can be proud of, in particular members of TWU 252 who are critical to its success.
However, we were disappointed to see the story reference false reports about Veolia’s performance elsewhere in the U.S., in particular Phoenix, Las Vegas and Columbia, S.C. The Labor Press talks about the importance of good information to organizing efforts. Here it is: Veolia was not fined $3 million in Phoenix for poor performance or anything like it. Its performance in Phoenix is among the best in the nation, with on-time service levels consistently around 97%. In Las Vegas, where we have operated the bus system for the past 20 years, nearly 95% of our unionized employees delivered their own petition to the RTC last summer supporting Veolia in the latest procurement, based primarily on good wages and benefits and a work environment that has contributed to Las Vegas achieving a Top 10 ranking among transit systems in the U.S. In Columbia, as elsewhere, service levels (and fares) are determined by the client, not Veolia, and reductions there were the result of severe revenue and funding shortfalls in the region, not inefficiency or profiteering.
Our goal in Nassau County is to work with our labor partners to grow the transit system to be among the best in the country, so that good jobs, wages and benefits can grow with it. We know that management and organized labor will not always see eye to eye, but we both have a big stake in the single, most important key to success there—the men and women who work every day to deliver this essential service. Being honest with and about ourselves and each other will benefit our employees and Local 252’s membership. We would appreciate the Labor Press giving us that opportunity here.
Alan B. Moldawer Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Veolia Transportation, Inc.
720 E. Butterfield Road, Suite 300
Lombard, IL 60148