In one of his last actions before leaving office, former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield proposed a new “Clean Water Authority” that could potentially have outsourced over 250 jobs. Privatization would have cost loyal employees jobs, wages, and other benefits that they have earned.
Thanks to the political work SEIU did in the spring as well as direct actions in the workplace and at City Hall, the Union was able to work with the newly-elected City Council and new Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke to scrap the Clean Water Authority.
“This thing was on a fast track and was supposed to be a ‘done deal’, but our union was able to shut it all down,” says Devin Cotton, the union steward at the Moccasin Bend facility, which would have been ground zero for privatization. “Our water is a precious resource and so are our public employees—it’s good for Chattanooga that SEIU was able to get this stopped. We stood together, and it paid off.”