Is G4S really the kind of corporation our public transit dollars should be going to?
Click for ten reasons why Sacramento Regional Transit should not contract with the G4S corporation.
► G4S and Youth Prisons:
– G4S youth jails: a story of revolving doors, dangerous restraints and death
– G4S to sell controversial youth jail contracts
– G4S guards at youth prison alleged to have falsified reports to avoid fines
►After yet another incident of abuse, and having the United Kingdom’s Labour Party call for G4S to be stripped of youth prisons contract and a Florida grand jury call G4S facilities a “disgrace to the state of Florida”, G4S is considering getting out of the business of running youth prisons in US and UK.
►G4S is also one of the corporations that falls under the recent Human Rights Watch call for an end to all business in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements. “The only way for businesses to comply with their own human rights responsibilities is to stop working with and in Israeli settlements,” said Arvind Ganesan, director of the business and human rights division at Human Rights Watch. G4S provides security services including equipment and personnel in several illegal Israeli settlements.
►British-Danish G4S received extra points for being a “local business” when RT awarded it a contract in 2013. Clearly a multi-national corporation like G4S is not a “local business”, but got the points because it had an office in Sacramento or surrounding counties.
In the news:
Humanitarian controversy engulfs Sacramento RT contractor (3-3-16 SNR)
Sacramento transit officials to consider ‘human rights’ policy (1-12-16 Sac Bee)
Sacramento activists urge transit agency to cut ties to security firm (1-2-16 Sac Bee)
Note: As a follow-up to issues raised in the Bee’s 1-2-16 article, SacRideHuman sent a Jan 4 letter to RT.
SacRideHuman welcomes the decision by the University of California to divest from G4S and other companies involved in operating privatized prisons.
RT’s Action on G4S: March 2016
On March 28, 2016, after six months of writing and meeting with RT Board and staff, generating substantial organizational and individual support through petition and letters, and attending RT Board meetings, SacRideHuman’s effort made headway!
The Board considered the options of ending the contract or a 1-year or 2-year extension. It finally agreed to a 1-year extension for fiscal year (FY) 2017 and to either go out to bid for FY 2018 or bring security workers in house. The Board also agreed to continue to explore, with community input, screening criteria related to social responsibility /social justice, including respect for human rights.
At least three dozen people attended the meeting in support of ending the G4S contract, set to expire in June at the end of FY 2016. Several speakers raised issues including that the RT staff counsel’s issue paper had referenced a debunked report that attempted to exonerate G4S. A G4S spokes person tried to defend the company with misrepresentations, including falsely denying that G4S is involved in private prisons.
SacRideHuman will continue its work to assure and to help the RT Board see through the commitments it made at the March 28 meeting. Stay tuned!
In Sept. 2015, Sac RT Board and staff learned that its private security provider, multinational G4S, profits from human rights and other abuses around the world.
Since then, hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations have been urging RT not to extend G4S’ contract, yet RT has remained silent.
RT Board and staff have been given: 1) legal analysis showing that they have the ability and obligation to screen its contractors for social responsibility, including respecting human rights, and 2) assessment criteria they can use for this screening.
Dozens have attended RT Board meetings since December 2015, expressing their concerns about G4S’ complicity in human rights abuses.
March 14 RT meeting
Once again, on March 14, 2016, nearly three dozen supporters of dropping G4S attended the RT Board meeting. Although agenda item 10 erroneously listed G4S as the private security contractor for fiscal year 2017, the Board Chair refused to let members of the public speak to this issue.
RT Chief Counsel gave an update on RT’s contractor screening for human rights. He noted that staff has been looking at this issue and will continue to do so and was not yet ready to make a recommendation. No date for a future report was given.
Also at the 3/14 meeting, the Board approved the creation of 30 new fare checker positions funded from Sac $1.2 million of the $4.1 million set aside annually for private security. This is a welcome conversion of low paid unionized private security jobs to RT unionized jobs with better pay and benefits.
The creation of the fare checker positions reduces the number of private security guards by at least a third. G4S issues aside, such a significant change warrants rebidding the contract in order to allow other companies the opportunity to get RT’s business.