Clean water and sanitation – recently recognised by the United Nations as basic human rights – are critical to good health. They help prevent disease. Yet billions of people have no ready access to safe water. It is an essential service that governments must provide to protect their citizens and serve their common good.
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Local 537 of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO (UWUA) marked an important win after ratifying a new labour agreement with Pennsylvania-American Water. The new agreement brings nearly 150 workers back off strike and turns back management demands to eliminate long-standing protections against subcontracting.
Utility workers in Pittsburgh, USA, have ratified a new union contract that includes solid job protections for working families and ends an eight-week work stoppage by nearly 150 union workers at four Pennsylvania-American Water worksites throughout the Pittsburgh area.
On 31 July, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board declared that American Water illegally slashed healthcare and other benefits for 3,200 workers in nearly 70 different bargaining units in fifteen states across the U.S.
The heat is on in Detroit, where the public water utility is cutting off water supply for non-payers. This new policy of water shutoffs, leaving thousands of families without access to running water, has sparked a mobilisation with global implications.
Remunicipalisation, or the taking back under public management of previously privatised public services, is a growing trend. Together with our allies, PSI is supporting information gathering and exchange, in order to assist campaigns and decision-making.
Private water companies Veolia and Suez, who controlled the Paris water supply from 1985 until its remunicipalisation in 2008, say "The Paris remunicipalisation decision has done a lot of damage to our profession." More and more cities are choosing to bring water back into public hands.