Showing posts with label Veolia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Veolia. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Infographic: St. Louis Veolia Timeline

Check out this infographic from St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee. Since late 2012, the PSC has joined other local organizations in opposing a city contract with Veolia

Owly Images

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Veolia Action in St. Louis

Press release from our member group St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


January 16, 2013

Contacts:

Anna Baltzer, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, info@stl-psc.org
Kat Logan Smith, Missouri Coalition of the Environment, klogansmith@moenviron.org

Residents to Pack City Board Meeting in Protest of Water Contract with Veolia, Renowned for Shoddy Environmental, Human Rights, Labor Practices

St. Louis, Missouri -- St. Louis Dump Veolia, a diverse coalition of environmental, labor, and human rights activists, is calling on the city’s Board of Estimate & Apportionment (E&A) to vote down a proposed contract with Veolia Water to guide cost-cutting for the St. Louis Water Division. The coalition is deeply troubled by the company’s record of irresponsible environmental practices, human rights violations, mismanagement, anti-labor practices, corruption, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, and failure to make good on promised improvements.
 
The Board, comprised of Mayor Francis Slay, Comptroller Darlene Green, and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, will meet Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2pm in the Room 200 of City Hall to consider contracts. At its December meeting, following public outcry, the Board voted to shelve the contract, calling for an investigation into Veolia by a selection committee chaired by the Mayor’s office. The contract was put back on last Friday, later than is usual. The coalition mobilized heavily to stop it and at the time of this press release, the contract had been removed from the agenda.

The contract can be reintroduced at any time. Concerned residents plan to pack the meeting, which is open to the press and the public.

According to one member of the City’s committee tasked with researching Veolia, the group has not been convened. Several local organizations including the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, and St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as individual city residents, have filed requests under the Sunshine Act for records and results of any such investigation.

“If Veolia performs consistently with its own record, our pocketbooks will not be safe, our drinking water will not be healthy, and our environment will not be protected,” said Kathleen Logan Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “St. Louis should dump Veolia now.”

“Veolia offers its services under the guise of “cutting costs” and providing “efficiency”.  However, we see in town after town, cutting costs means cutting jobs or eliminating pensions.  Almost all studies show that one of the biggest sources of job creation is to invest in public infrastructure.  St. Louis City needs to keep our public works in the hands of the public, NOT a private overseas corporation” said Arielle Klagsbrun of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment

Sandra Tamari of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee explained: “My family lives in the occupied West Bank, where Israel has implemented a system of segregated roads and buses, some of which Veolia operates. If we tried to board these buses, we would be forced off simply because of our ethnicity and religion. If St. Louis stands against segregation in the U.S., it should not support corporations profiting from segregation elsewhere.”

“The city has serious water infrastructure needs but we question the value of this costly consulting contract with a company that has such a questionable record, “said Caroline Pufalt, Sierra Club Conservation Chair.

Veolia’s illegal activities in Israel/Palestine and other notorious practices have made it the target of corporate accountability campaigns worldwide. The company has lost an estimated $16 billion to date in cancelled or withdrawn contracts following advocacy. Parent company Veolia’s hometown Paris, France chose not to renew its contract with the company.

In 2007, Mayor Slay received a trophy and award check for $15,000 from the President of Veolia Water.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

St. Louis City Board Votes to Investigate Veolia Following Public Outcry

From our member group St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee


St. Louis, Missouri — At 2:30pm on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, at a standing-room only meeting in the mayor’s office for the St. Louis City Board of Estimate & Apportionment (E & A), the Board declined to approve a city contract with Veolia Water, putting off the vote until there can be a full investigation into the company’s history. The decision came in light of new information on the company’s involvement with ethnic discrimination in Palestine, as well as a flurry of phone calls, emails, and meetings voicing “concerns about the company’s human rights practices and financial condition,” as reported by St. Louis National Public Radio.

In the six hours prior to the vote, board members had received more than 200 emails apiece asking them not to rush the contract through. Their phones rang off the hook as local activists also addressed the officials on Twitter. Members of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace attended the meeting to show their opposition to Veolia.

The board, which is comprised of the St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay, Comptroller Darlene Green, and President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed, agreed that they could not in good conscience vote to approve a contract with so many outstanding questions. Earlier, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee had delivered a statement and facts sheet documenting Veolia’s history of profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid policies in Palestine, and the company’s notorious environmentally disastrous activities, anti-labor practices, mismanagement, corruption, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, and failure to make good on promised improvements.

When Mayor Slay presented the contract with a motion to approve, President Reed put forward a motion to postpone the vote in order to allow time for investigation into the company’s practices. While the city’s Water Commissioner and the mayor continued to argue that Veolia was the right company for the job, Green spoke eloquently in agreement with Reed:

“We have several complaints from our citizenry. And I want to honor their complaints [and] their time and desire to ‘Investigate Veolia.’… It’s not our money; it’s their money. Period… You [the citizens] do matter. So let’s get more information.”

Reed expressed concerns that the contract had been added to the agenda at the last-minute, following outcry from environmentalists, workers, the Palestine solidarity community, and other constituencies outraged by the corporation’s abysmal track record.

In spite of the late notice, local organizers mobilized hundreds to spring into action. This victory has shown the power of everyday people standing up to multinational corporations and demanding transparency in public contracts.

Having won the first victory, St. Louisans will now redouble efforts to stop the contract once and for all. It’s time for St. Louis to dump Veolia.

Press contact: Colleen Kelly, info@stl-psc.org.

To keep appraised of developments, join the PSC FB page and/or follow @stlpsc.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Apartheid, L.A. Don't Roll that way! -- Reportback & Call to Action

DumpVeolia.LA activists rally outside City Hall
On September 12, 2012, Los Angeles Residents Confronted Veolia Corporation on Human Rights Violations at L.A. City Council Transportation Committee. Below you'll find a Report-Back and Call to Action from DumpVeolia.LA. ***PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!*** There's something everyone can do among the items in red below.

On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, more than 40 people gathered to support the LA DumpVeolia Campaign at 2pm in the middle of a workday at the City of Los Angeles Transportation Committee during the first public hearing regarding the renewal of two contracts with Veolia to operate several lines of the city-run DASH buses that provide short run bus service to city residents. Over 30 people directly addressed the committee explaining their personal reasons for opposing the city doing business with a corporation actively involved in maintaining, and profiting from an apartheid transportation system in Palestine.  Over 500 postcards, petition signatures and letters from groups and individuals opposed to the awarding of this contract were submitted to the committee.


Community members testify before the transportation
committee of the L.A. City Council in opposition to Veolia.
Those making statements included representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace and the Los Angeles County Green Party.  Speakers included Christian clergy members, Anti-war organizers, Immigration-Rights organizers, Human Rights lawyers, and Labor Organizers.  Speaking against Veolia were members of the African-American, Chicano/Mexican, Jewish and Muslim communities in Los Angeles, as well as both Christian and Muslim Palestinians.

One representative of Veolia Corporation and four representatives of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles spoke on the other side arguing that Veolia’s record of violating basic Human Rights around the world should not be considered when deciding on the awarding of this contract.

Despite Los Angeles’ history of being one of the first major cities in the U.S. to boycott and divest from the South African apartheid regime in the 80’s, divestment from corporations doing business with the military dictatorship in Burma in the 90’s, the severing of ties with the Boy Scouts of America in recent years because of that organizations open discrimination against members of the Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans/Queer community and Atheists, and the Boycott of Arizona beginning in 2010 after that state passed its racist anti-immigrant law SB1070 and despite the overwhelming support in the room to not award this contract to Veolia the three members of the committee present: Paul Koretz, Tom La Bonge and José Huizar voted unanimously to support Veolia’s bid.

A diverse group of more than 40 community members
showed up on a work day on short notice to show
support for the DumpVeolia.LA Campaign.
The LA DumpVeolia Campaign now has reason to believe that these contracts will now come before the full Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, September 19th for a final decision. We strongly urge all who can to attend and be prepared the make a brief statement. There will be no comment time for this specific issue; however, there will be a period for general comments and we need you there!

Please RSVP now to attend the hearing this Wednesday, September 19th!

Stay tuned as the time approaches, as plans are not final.

If you are in the L.A. area but cannot attend on Wednesday, please click here to send letters to the L.A. city council.

And even if you are not in the L.A. area, everyone can sign this petition to the council members asking them to Dump Veolia! Sign today!

Finally, please join the DumpVeolia.LA Facebook page to follow developments...

The LA DumpVeolia Campaign would like to express their deepest thanks to all those who were able to attend this important meeting that put issues of Palestinian human rights and Israeli Apartheid directly in front of Council members and the City of L.A. in a way that hasn’t happened for at least many years, if ever.  We believe we made a very strong statement that we will be able to build on next week at the full City Council meeting and beyond, whatever happens there.  We also want to thank everyone nationally and internationally who have provided such invaluable support and solidarity.

The Los Angeles Dump Veolia Campaign is a local autonomous group that is part of the international Palestinian-led Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement working for justice and respect for human rights in Palestine.  Please watch for important action alerts in the next few days for ways you can support the Campaign as we get closer to the final City Council vote.

Click here to view the Los Angeles Times article about the action.

Contact DumpVeolia.LA at dumpveolia.la@gmail.com to receive action alerts and to get more involved in this critical stage of the campaign.

For more information about the international BDS movement and Veolia corporation please visit www.bdsmovement.net

Monday, November 28, 2011

Israelis Accuse BNP Paribas of Caving to BDS Pressure

In an article (below) in last Thurday's Haaretz, Israeli officials angrily accused French bank BNP Paribas of pulling out of Israel in response to civil society pressure in France. While BDS activists are currently directing robust campaigns against French companies like Veolia, BNP Paribas does not appear to have been targeted by BDS activists. The bank itself has said that it is pulling out in response to the ongoing financial crisis in Europe.

While it may be difficult to ascertain exactly why BNP Paribas is exiting Israel, it is not difficult to explain Israel's enraged response: it is terrified by the growing international momentum of BDS. The palpable fear and anxiety exhibited by Israeli officials in the Haaretz article is further evidence of the strength of BDS as a powerful nonviolent resistance strategy.

Rage in Israel as BNP Paribas pressured to pull out

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Banks Supervisor David Zaken and their top officials believe the bank’s board of directors caved to pressure groups, contrary to its claims.

By Moti Bassok

The powers that be are furious at BNP Paribas for shuttering its operations in Israel, and suspect it is acting due to Arab and anti-Israeli pressure in France, the bank’s home base.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Banks Supervisor David Zaken and their top officials believe the bank’s board of directors caved to pressure groups, contrary to its claims.This is the first case in years of a foreign bank leaving Israel. BNP Paribas has had operations in Israel since 2003. Most of its business here involved financing large projects that involve French companies.

The bank recently decided to shut down its local offices and dismiss its 60 employees. The bank claims this is because it sustained serious damage from the Greek crisis. Yet the only foreign branch is closing is its Israeli one, even though BNP Paribas has branches all over the world, including in Israel’s neighbor countries.

The French bank is leaving a very limited representation in Israel. It does not need the Bank of Israel’s approval for this, even though its operations are still supervised by the central bank.

Fischer and Zaken held several harsh discussions with BNP Paribas executives, which brought no results, and also denounced the bank’s actions in internal meetings. Fischer reportedly said that one of his goals as Israel’s chief banker was to convince large foreign banks to do business in Israel. There is no reason for BNP Paribas to leave, he reportedly said.

The Bank of Israel said it could not comment on a specific bank.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cambridge Students Vote to Dump Veolia

A student referendum calling on Cambridge University to sever ties with Veolia due to its complicity in Israeli human rights abuses passes with 58% of the vote. Read blogger Ben White's article on the vote, the opposition's smear tactics, and what the vote means in the fight against Veolia at Cambridge.

Want to start a Dump Veolia campaign in your area? Check out the excellent resources at Global Exchange and join the growing movement to hold Veolia accountable for its complicity in violating international law!

From the Cambridge Bin Veolia campaign:

58% of students vote to break contract with company implicated in Israeli human rights abuses

Students at Cambridge have voted to call on the University to cut ties with a company implicated in Israeli human rights abuses.

The vote calls on CUSU (Cambridge University Students Union) to campaign to have the University cut ties with Veolia, a company involved in infrastructure projects in Israeli settlements, and employed by the University on a waste disposal contract. The referendum, which closed yesterday, passed with a majority of 58% to 41%: there were 898 votes yes, 637 votes no, and 21 ballots spoilt. While a strong majority was in support, the referendum was inquorate: 7.2% of the student body voted, short of the 10% required.

Students involved in the campaign pledged to continue the campaign to ensure that Veolia’s contract, which expires in September 2012, is not renewed.

As previously reported on the blog, student campaigners had been boosted in the lead up to the referendum with letters of support from Palestinian trade unionists and students, as well as a list of Cambridge academics.

While voter participation was too low to make the motion automatically become CUSU policy, the students behind the push to cut the University’s ties with Veolia are encouraged:

Daniel Benjamin, a student involved in the campaign, said: “With this vote, Cambridge students make a strong statement against Veolia’s criminal actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We won’t stop fighting until Veolia is off campus, but this vote itself is a fantastic show of support in the broader campaign for Palestinian human rights through boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli companies and institutions.”

Owen Holland, a student involved in the campaign, said: “The impressive turnout shows significant student support for the campaign. We are concerned with a number of irregularities in the vote, such as lies in the ‘no’ flysheet that went uncorrected, a lack of ballot boxes in colleges, and a number of students who found themselves unable to vote online. Though the referendum did not meet the threshold to become CUSU policy, we will be campaigning to have CUSU adopt it anyway and push the University to drop its contract with Veolia.

The “lies” of the ‘No’ campaign, referred to by Owen Holland, can be read here (and they are rebutted here). The ‘No’ flysheet prepared by members of the Cambridge University Jewish Society described “the wider BDS movement” as “antisemitic”, even if the motion in question “is not explicitly” so. Despite such smear tactics, the majority of Cambridge students who voted backed the call for the University to cancel its contract with Veolia, and the campaign continues.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIAA-CREF Censors Shareholders... We Flash-Mob!


Above: Palestinian boy calls on people worldwide to boycott Elbit and end Israeli occupation and apartheid.



Traveling through Palestine during the past few weeks, co-leading a delegation organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group, I witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid.

I watched Caterpillar bulldozers leveling earth for illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. I stood under Motorola-equipped watchtowers and thermal cameras at checkpoints and terminals that separate Palestinians from their schools, jobs and basic human services. I saw Elbit equipment used in patrolling the Apartheid wall. I documented Veolia buses operated on roads forbidden to non-Jews in the West Bank. On the first anniversary of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, I honored the nine civilians killed by Israel with Northrop Grumman helicopters and other U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons.

The growing "We Divest" Campaign demands that retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Veolia and Northrop Grumman because all five are profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation.

TIAA-CREF presents itself as committed to "serving the greater good," in part by engaging with companies behaving poorly. This is why 20 investors and anti-occupation activists filed a shareholders resolution earlier this year, asking TIAA-CREF to engage with companies profiting from the occupation.

Despite a stated commitment to transparency, TIAA-CREF asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help suppress the resolution. The SEC agreed not to sue TIAA-CREF for refusing to submit the proposal to a shareholder vote. TIAA-CREF bills itself as socially responsible, yet it is blocking its investors from choosing whether or not to retire on money acquired through an illegal, immoral occupation.



Above: BDS activists protest outside TIAA-CREF offices in Denver during Israeli Apartheid Week. Click image to enlarge, and click here to see video.


It's time to show TIAA-CREF that they cannot silence investors and violate their own proclaimed investment standards while we sit idly by! We need to keep the pressure on.

Many of you have already signed the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation. Now it's time to take the next step. In the spirit of this spring's Flash Mob Frenzy, there will be a coordinated week of flash mobs across the country, starting June 20.

Have you been itching to stage a flash mob in your community? Here's your chance! There's a song everyone knows, catchy lyrics, and simple but groovy dance steps all ready to use!

The materials come with a how-to kit based on the US Campaign's BDS Flash Mob Step-by-Step Guide.

Click here to connect with others in your area to take part in the Flash Mob Action Week and demand that TIAA-CREF stop profiting from occupation, stop censoring investors, and start acting like a real socially responsible investment fund!

Hope to see you -- getting your socially responsible groove on -- soon!


Anna Baltzer
National Organizer





PS --
We can support grassroots BDS activism around the country only with grassroots support from people like you. Help us by making a general tax-deductible donation, or by joining our Olive Branch Club to make a recurring tax-deductible donation.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Los Angeles JVP calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar

By Adolfo Flores, Pasadena Star-News, 12/10/2010


PASADENA - Members of the Los Angeles Jewish Voice for Peace on Friday protested a retirement planning office they claim profits from the conflict in the Middle East.

Organizers called on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar Inc. because the company allegedly supplied bulldozers to Israel that were used to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank, protest organizers said.

About 10 protestors gathered outside the office in conjunction with Human Rights Day.

"I think that they're making a mistake by not talking to people," said Estee Chandler. "We came with a petition with 650 signatures ... it asks them to divest from companies that directly profit from the occupation of Palestinian lands."

READ FULL ARTICLE...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Caterpillar and Corporate Accountability

Today, member groups of the US Campaign will gather at Caterpillar's annual shareholder meeting with a simple message: Caterpillar should build the U.S. economy, not destroy Palestinian homes, lands, lives, and livelihoods. Click here to read a media release regarding the shareholder meeting from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. This is the sixth year in a row that concerned shareholders and members or organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace have gathered at the shareholder meeting to tell Cat to stop profiting off of the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Caterpillar equipment, especially weaponized and armored D-9 bulldozers, is used by the Israeli military to violate human rights and international law by demolishing Palestinian houses, building the apartheid Wall and settlements, uprooting olive and fruit trees, and killing civilians, including dozens of Palestinian civilians and U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie. This past February, President Obama visited CAT headquarters in Peoria, Illinois, to promote his stimulus package plan. Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens is a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. In Obama's speech (which you can view here), President Obama tied Caterpillar's economic performance with the status of the U.S. economy, and said: "This isn't about figures on a balance sheet. It's about families...folks who are losing their jobs and their health care and their homes." Exactly. Caterpillar's economic performance--and the economic health of the U.S. economy--should be about people, not numbers. And that means that it can't be based on profiting off of occupation, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid. This year's Caterpillar shareholder meeting comes in the midst of a series of major victories for corporate accountability. Recent corporate accountability news includes suits against companies that aided and abetted the apartheid regime in South Africa, the announcement of Veolia's decision to pull out of the illegal East Jerusalem light rail project after sustained boycott and divestment pressure, suits against Canadian companies involved in settlement construction, and the victory against Shell's complicity in extrajudicial assassinations in Nigeria (a victory that was won with the support of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the same organization that supported the Corrie family in their suit against Caterpillar). All of this is good news for the global movement to hold corporations accountable for their complicity in violations of human rights and international law. If you haven't already, send an email to Caterpillar and join this global movement.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Major BDS Victory as Caterpillar meeting approaches!

As the US Campaign and member organizations prepare for this week's Caterpillar shareholder meeting, we welcome news of a major victory for the movement to hold accountable corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Haaretz is reporting that the French company Veolia has announced that it will pull out of a light rail project that is planned as part of the illegal settlement infrastructure in East Jerusalem. Veolia's decision comes after sustained boycott and divestment pressure from many groups, including the French BDS movement, Dutch and British activists, and the Church of Sweden. Boycott activist Omar Barghouti announces the victory:
"In the first smashing and convincing victory of the global BDS movement in the field of corporate responsibility and ethical compliance, Veolia is reportedly abandoning the Jerusalem Light Rail project, an illegal project that aims at connecting Israeli colonies built on occupied Palestinian territory to the city of Jerusalem. As the Haaretz article...admits, the BDS campaign's success in costing Veolia some $7 billion worth of contracts is the key behind this decision by the troubled company to pull out of the project."
This is a cause for celebration! At the same time, it's a chance to redouble our own efforts at corporate accountability and BDS work in the United States. If you haven't already, visit the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation website to find out how you can let Caterpillar know that the bulldozer manufacturer should build in the United States, not destroy in Palestine.