Veolia Rejects Federal Mediator's Proposal, PG County Bus Service Continues to Suffer

Veolia Management Refuses to Allow Workers to Return

Oct 01, 2010, 07:35 ET from Teamsters Local Union 639

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of Teamsters Local 639 working for Veolia/TheBus remain on strike today after the company refused to agree to a settlement proposed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service that would have resulted in an end to the current job action and an immediate restoration of regular bus service to the residents of Prince George's County, Md.

Late Wednesday night, the union agreed to a proposal by Federal Mediators to end the strike, return to work and extend the current contract another six months to allow for additional bargaining between the two sides. Veolia negotiators refused to immediately agree to the proposal, promising to give their answer to the Federal Mediators the morning of Thursday, Sept. 30. Late Thursday night the mediator was informed that Veolia completely rejected an extension and refused to allow drivers back to work.

"We have done all we can to settle this dispute," said Tommy Ratliff, President of Local 639 in Washington D.C. "The County Executive has been notified that the company is refusing to agree to a six-month extension, and is effectively refusing to negotiate. Our members are ready to get back to work, but the company is stonewalling."

Company representatives have made it clear that they are unwilling to accept even the most reasonable offers during negotiations, turning down every proposal the union put on the table – even those that would have saved Veolia more than $150,000 in health care costs.

"When the Federal Mediators are stunned by the company's behavior you know something is wrong," Ratliff said. "We received nothing but compliments from the mediators for our efforts to resolve the dispute. The only way I can describe Veolia's actions during bargaining is bizarre, and that may be an understatement."

Veolia is a French Multi-national company with operations throughout the US and Canada. The Teamsters represent thousands of Veolia members at all three of its North American subsidiaries. Veolia derives over $1 billion in revenue from its U.S. operations and more than $7.6 billion worldwide.

In contentious contract negotiations in Phoenix, Arizona yesterday, hundreds of workers at Teamsters Local Union 104, Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1433, and the International Union of Operating Engineers 428 agreed to a contract extension through midnight Sunday. All three unions are preparing for strike action, while the company has indicated that they intend to lock workers out if there is not an agreement by Sunday. In Phoenix, Veolia's maintenance staff is represented by Teamsters Local 104, Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1433 represents the more than 600 bus operators, and the International Union of Operating Engineers 428 is the bus mechanics' union.

Local 639 represents more than 8,000 workers in the Washington Metro area, a large number who reside in Maryland. Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 639