Local
8:46 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Demonstrators protest company that operates Buffalo water system

A handful of local activists staged a small protest Thursday outside a company that operates the City of Buffalo's water system, seeking to draw attention to a labor dispute in Boston.

Protestors on Exchange Street in Buffalo outside Veolia, which operates Buffalo's water system.
Protestors on Exchange Street in Buffalo outside Veolia, which operates Buffalo's water system.
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Veolia is a Paris, France based company located on Exchange Street downtown. It holds the contract to run the city's water system and also operates a major transportation company. 

Buffalo protestors wave signs outside Veolia on Exchange Street.
Buffalo protestors wave signs outside Veolia on Exchange Street.
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

In Boston, the company is in the midst of a major labor contract dispute and has locked out unionized school bus drivers.

Protestor Ellie Dorritie said Veolia took over the labor contract in recent months and agreed that workers would be able to continue under their previous agreement.

Buffalo protesters Ellie Dorritie stands along Exchange Street.
Buffalo protesters Ellie Dorritie stands along Exchange Street.
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

"Then, they just totally backed down," she says.

Dorritie accuses the company of union busting and says she wants residents to learn about the company's actions.

"We're not just people who pay water bills, like everyone else. We're also union activists and people who care about whether or not labor has some dignity [and] whether we can make a contract and have both sides stick to it," Dorritie said.

The protestors said they want city residents to learn about the company's actions.

"They're one of the biggest water privatizers in the world," said Dorritie.

Similar solidarity demonstrations against the company have been held in other cities, including New York City and Washington, D.C.