Approximately 75 activists from AFT-Maryland, the City Union of Baltimore, AFSCME Council 67, and UNITE HERE Local 7 rallied at City Hall last Wednesday morning, 8/13/14, citing concerns the city was planning to privatize the public water system.
According to The Baltimore Sun, pressure from the federal government to reform the out-of-date water system caused the city to send out a request for proposals for a private study on how to make the system more effective and efficient.
One of the main bidders that responded to this RFP, Veolia Water North America, has a track
record of privatizing water resources in larger cities. The Sun points out that the city of St. Louis, for example, abandoned an agreement with Veolia to privatize the water system recently after protests over the company’s business and environmental record.
Glen Middleton, president of AFSCME Council 67, told The Sun that what Veolia does is “come in and do an efficiency study, and then two years from now what they will do is say that we want to downsize the workers, contract them out of their jobs.”
A spokesman for the mayor denied any specific plans to privatize the water system in Baltimore.