Veolia Transportation Subpoenas Records From Yahoo, Union Boss, Others in Search of Who Leaked Unflattering Internal E-Mails

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Veolia Transportation is bent on finding out who leaked internal company e-mails.

While Veolia Transportation, the company that operates Phoenix city buses, is in the midst of contentious negotiations with the bus drivers' union, corporate executives are dropping subpoenas to gain access to union computers.


Corporate execs also got court approval to sift through records from Google, Yahoo, and Qwest to accomplish a mission -- track down who leaked a batch of inappropriate internal company e-mails.

The e-mails, authored by Jim Wolf, one of the company's regional vice presidents, ended up in the hands of someone who forwarded them to the entire Phoenix City Council and to other city officials, to local media, and to company employees.

 

In the e-mails, written while Veolia was competing for the Phoenix city-bus contract, Wolf makes comments about giving a substantial raise to "lock-in" a black Veolia manager because of her friendship with Debbie Cotton, Phoenix's Public Transit Director (also an African-American woman.) 


Wolf also refers to other high-ranking Veolia executives as "a little boy scout" and a "leg shave'n fag." Regarding Dick Alexander, Veolia's senior vice president of business development, Wolf wrote: "Fuck Dick. It's easy to bid tight and blame the field. He's never run shit."

Wolf also took a swipe at the company's Phoenix partners when someone was complaining about his or her job. Wolf wrote: "Would you rather be here dealing with [Gregory] Torrez, CPLC [Chicanos Por La Causa] and Dick Alexander. I can throw in a 90 minute call with MJ [Veolia's CEO Mark Joseph] if that sweetens the trade."

 

According to court records, Veolia execs have been trying to track down the owner of the e-mail address from which those e-mails originated. But, as one might expect, the e-mail account comes back to an anonymous owner.

A federal judge granted the corporation the right to hire someone to peruse computers in search of evidence that might show that the e-mail address was set up on one of the computers at the Amalgamated Transit Union, the only union with which Veolia hasn't been able to reach a contract agreement.

Wolf was the company's regional vice president and was heading up the Phoenix contract.

And we emphasize "was."

Veolia sources tell New Times that Wolf was let go this week -- nearly seven months after the e-mails first started making their rounds. Check out the posting for his old job.

 

The e-mails also detail increased salaries for Veolia execs, even when corporate officials were preaching the importance of making sacrifices during difficult economic times to justify cutting workers' wages. Company officials slashed Veolia's non-union employees pay an average of 40 percent.

Veolia officials appear to have started hunting for the source of the e-mail leaks soon after their new Phoenix bus contract got under way July 1, 2010. 

The court granted permission on July 13 for Veolia to subpoena e-mail records from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft "for the sole purpose of ascertaining the identities" of the defendants in Veolia's lawsuit. 

Veolia also had its eye on ATU president Bob Bean, one of the targets of the company's subpoenas, according to court records.

Veolia first tried to get at Bean's records on September 1, but courts granted Bean protection from Veolia's fishing expedition. But on October 14, the courts gave permission to Veolia to question Bean under oath and to hire a third party to gain access to computers used by Bean and the ATU.

The courts also allowed Veolia to access records at "hotels and other locations in Arizona and Atlanta that provide free internet access" to figure out where the anonymous e-mail account was established. The list also included Qwest accounts, hard-drives, and servers that Veolia suspects might contain clues about who sent out the e-mails. Terri McGraw, a laid-off Veolia employeef, also was targeted with subpoenas, according to court records.




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13 comments
jim k
jim k

If you want to see some more veolia schmucks in action check this video out and look at 8:45 and 9:45 and see these schmucks at their best.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt0VNq...

jim k
jim k

All kinds of conflicts here between your city and this crappy company. Seems like with this kind of unethical behavior the contract should be voided and the dog kicked to the curb. veolia management is only "Good" for one thing and that is selling womans shoes at wal mart.

ATUVP
ATUVP

@Botanybay:

Just please believe me when I say that we at the ATU are not intimidated. We understand our battle. We are in this fighting for our members ability to feed and cloth their families. We are not trying to bankrupt some poor company. There appears to be no hardship for Veolia. They just want to up their profit off the backs of our American work force, then send that profit back to France. Our notes clearly show that we are not in this to just take. Our members tasked us to get a fair contract. The key word here is fair. There is no need to cut wages and benefits when Veolia is making a huge profit off of us taxpayers already. They do not intimidate us at all. Unlike other unions and past ATU leadership, this team has committed to not accepting promotion offers from Veolia to sell the contract, if they decide offer, like they did with one of the other 2 unions. We will get this done, we will organize the riders and we will elect new city leadership, who actually care about public transit and will not be bribed with women.

botanybay
botanybay

And this, folks, is how corporations intimidate anyone with the bright idea of starting or joining a union. And how Arizona allows this intimidation to happen. Very sad.

Lily rollins
Lily rollins

Google Veolia water and Veolia transportation. They are involved in scandals, bribery, and even apartheid in Israel. Veolia is doing terrible things all over the world, not just here in Phoenix. They must be stopped!

ATUVP
ATUVP

@ M. Augustus,

You could not be more correct in your view. This situation is spinning out of control and it is happening fast. We have been able to hold off Veolia from locking out the operators. They did it to the Teamsters and were forced to bring them back. What I do not understand is how the public has not jumped out of their seats and yelled corruption! If this were the east coast, several people would be in jail. What we at the ATU want everyone to know is the truth, it is that simple. Our members have made it clear to us that they have developed great relationships with their riders and do not want to leave them with out a ride. They also do not want to go out if it can be avoided. It can be avoided, but we cannot just allow them to take away 30 years of bargaining history to get larger bonuses for local senior staff. We are NOT making crazy demands and have shown, through our bargaining notes that we have been willing to make certain concessions. With that said, Veolia wants nothing but to take away what we have. What we have spent 30 years negotiating for. They want a pay freeze, and want to make operators to pay more for insurance. WHY? Veolia has never claimed that they cannot pay, their contract with the City actually gives them an overall increase of over 10% for the next 3 years. Their only goal is to increase that profit. I would understand if there was an actual economic need for concessions, this is not what is happening here. Our members work very hard for their money and benefits. Many operators are out there for 14 hours with no lunch break and very limited end of line time to use the restroom. They have to deal with traffic all day, drunks, fights, screaming babies, assaults, increased fares for their riders, decreased service, tighter schedules...I can go on. With all that they deal with everyday, they are still understanding that they must be frugal. The demands that they gave us (what they want in their contract) were not extreme, nor were they lavish. What did we get in return for their willingness to work with Veolia? Veolia wants them to give up everything so they can send more money, taxpayer money, back to France. How American is that? Veolia can head back to France and stay there as far as I am concerned!

M. Augustus
M. Augustus

This French company needs to leave Phoenix! The City of Phoenix should revoke the Veolia contract and rebid the contract or run it internally. This whole dirty mess is about to blow up in the citys face!

ATUVP
ATUVP

Phoenix Residents,

Are any of you actually concerned about what is going on here? Veolia has way too much control over our local government. Veolia actually believes that we at the ATU will allow them to cut our wages and benefits to line their French pockets. Their new General Manager got a HUGE increase in his wages, along with all of the new senior staff. They all got free cars, they all got perks up the wazoo, and you paid for it. The new GM got a free corporate apartment, free trips to Vegas every other weekend, AND YOU PAID FOR IT! Veolia contracts with the City of Phoenix, who uses YOUR tax dollars to pay their contracts. I mention the mayors girlfriend, because you cannot talk about Veolia and the City without discussing the mayors girlfriend, a VEOLIA EMPLOYEE. The employee who helped win the Veolia contract. When Veolia is making such a huge profit off of you, when their senior managers make huge raises off of you, when they get all of these perks from you, why would our operators be asked to give up what they have spent years earning? Where is the shared burden there? We represent hard working Americans, who just want to provide for their families and Veolia represents foreign multinational corporate greed. Join us by sending letters to your city council representative letters, voicemails, complaints, whatever. We are trying to avoid a strike and Veolia is pushing for it, which is why they have multiple labor board charges filed against them. We do not want ton leave you stranded, if we did it would have happened already. We want to keep working and this foreign greedy company wants to strand you so that they can continue to milk you foe all that you have. Thanks City of Phoenix for allowing Veolia to fuck it's way into getting a lavish contract for corporate while at the same time fucking the riders and drivers! Thank you Very much!ATUVP

Elvis
Elvis

Controversially, right now they are exporting water from the Great Lakes of the US and shipping it in bottles to sell to the Chinese. This is no secret but it’s not widely known, either. A lot of people in the US are rightly concerned by the disappearing water of the Great Lakes. Not least because Lake Mead in Nevada is looking more and more incapable of sustaining adequate water supply to Nevada and California in the years to come.

Jk91932
Jk91932

veolia water has fired entire staffs for wanting to start a union.

Atu1433pres
Atu1433pres

I could not agree more with atuvp, Veolia is one greedy French Company with no morals whatsoever, they do not care about their employees at all just ask the 3 that were terminated in the last week as the new management tries to reduce the Operator force by 100 Operators. They have started making up a new discipline game to suit themselves, Veolia preaches that they have Core Values this has to be one of the biggest fraudulent statement that they publish, just ask the Operators and the non bargaining unit employees past and present who all took the 40 per cent pay cut to stay employed in these tough times while the new management received new ridiculous higher wages and bonuses. Look at Veolia environment as Veolia prides them self on going green world wide, just ask the people in Manitoba, Canada about the great Veolia water scandal, it is also rumored that Veolia is helping to drain the great lakes transporting the water back to Europe in big tanker ships, leaving the lakes at their lowest point ever. This companys only concern is a big profit that goes directly back to the parent Corporation in France. For some more interesting reading look up Veolia water or the Veolia Trans Dev Merger in Europe. It's about time that all the citizens of Phoenix form a coalition Phoenix Freinds of Transit to let the City Officials know that we need affordable transit. Transit in Phoenix is going backwards at the Same time the City jacks up the fares. So let's all get together and let the City know we need more transit that runs the same times as the trains so that people can get to and from work.

jim k
jim k

The trips to Las Vegas are for "managers meetings". Thats when they discuss how to manage all of your money...black jack or craps.

Jasreese5384
Jasreese5384

It is sad that one company can get so much power to screw everyone.....I know they got ATU involved to stop ATU Local 587 effords to moblize it's workforce. How did they gain so much power?

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