On September 8, 2015, Sacramento Regional Transit received a letter, below, originally signed by 25 organizations asking it not to extend its multi-million dollar contract with the British-Danish corporation G4S because of G4S involvement in human rights violations. RT has now heard from over five dozen organizations that have either signed the letter and/or sent their own letters.
At least ten groups have sent their own statements to RT. These include:
Enlace: Organizing for Racial and Economic Justice June 2016
Democratic Party of Sacramento County February 2016
Amnesty International Sacramento Chapter February 9 2016
Florin Japanese American Citizens League January 2016
Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ January 2016
Defense for Children International December 2015
American Friends Service Committee November 2015
Unitarian Universalists December 2015
United Methodists of California Nevada Annual Conference November 2015
Sierra Club Sacramento Group October 2015
September 8, 2015
Sacramento Regional Transit Board of Directors
P.O. Box 2110
Sacramento, CA 95812-2110
Dear Sacramento Regional Transit Board of Directors:
We are writing as concerned citizens, Regional Transit (RT) patrons, and taxpayers about RT’s contract with G4S Secure Solutions (G4S). Because G4S, the world’s largest private security company, is an active participant in well-documented violations of human rights and other international laws we ask that you: 1) not extend the current contract, allowing it to expire on June 30, 2016; 2) develop criteria to be included in Request For Proposals (RFP) for the next contract to exclude companies that are involved in human rights violations; and 3) do not award G4S another contract if they are still engaged or complicit in violations of human rights and international law,
Please see the fact sheet from Jewish Voice for Peace that details G4S’ responsibility for and complicity in abuses around the world. Also please see the very recent statement by African American activists, scholars and artists that calls G4S out for specific action because “G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and hundreds of Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the US. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia.”
In Palestine/Israel, G4S is an accomplice in grave violations of human rights and international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rights of the Child. Since the U.S. is a signatory to these international agreements, they are part of our own nation’s laws. G4S’s human rights record is equally appalling in other countries outside Palestine/Israel. Such violations erode all of our human rights and set a bad example for our communities, which continue to struggle for equality and against violence. G4S has also been sued for overbilling and cited for misconduct related to government contracts.
G4S currently provides security at RT facilities and on trains under the current three-year contract valued in excess of $4 million dollars annually. By contracting with G4S, RT unwittingly sends a message of approval for its violations of human rights and international law.
Taking the steps outlined above is consistent with our community’s values and the exemplary tradition started in Sacramento when county supervisors took a noble stand challenging the then-apartheid regime in South Africa. It is also consistent with actions taken and statements issued by United Methodist Church,United Church of Christ, Gates Foundation, Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, U.N. Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, Cornell West, and many others that have called on G4S to reform its business practices and have refused to do business with them until they do.
Please note that our concerns are directed at the G4S corporation, not its local workers. As with any change in contracting entity, we would expect the workers to be able to retain their jobs with the new entity under the same or better wages and working conditions. It is our understanding that contractor changes are common in the security industry and that it is standard practice for workers to retain their employment. Assuring that workers are able to choose, whether or not they want union representation and the right to collective bargaining, in a neutral environment, free of employer intimidation, should be addressed in the new request for proposals.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further. A representative of Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights will be contacting you to set up a meeting.
Click for updated list of signatories.