Electric Vehicle Manufacturer BYD Inks Landmark labor contract with SMART

(image credit: Keyang Pang)

Los Angeles— Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD Coach & Bus (Build Your Dreams), and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union (SMART) Local 105 today formally signed the first collective bargaining agreement in the electric bus industry in the United States.

This is the first-ever collective bargaining agreement in American electric bus industry representing a turning point in domestic clean-technology manufacturing.

“Over the years, BYD has endeavored to perfect its people-oriented management and build up a corporate culture based on equality, prudence, passion, innovation. Not only good working conditions, BYD also cares for employees’ further education.” said Stella Li, President of BYD North America.

“We were criticized by the local advocacy groups when we first arrived in Los Angeles. Then they realized that we hold the same common goal for employee benefit. BYD is part of the community, therefore, we would like to take responsibility and payback to the community”, Stella Li stated.

Los Angeles County supervisor Hilda Solis, the Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, attended the signing ceremony and she said, “This is in fact the American Dream, this is what our families strive for here in Los Angeles, so I want to give a shoutout to BYD.”

“Our new contract with SMART is central to our strategy of creating a sustainable, highly skilled workforce that delivers quality and consistency in the manufacturing process,” said Macy Neshati, Senior Vice President of BYD. “Today’s agreement is a turning point in American clean-technology manufacturing, demonstrating that partnerships like this can drive progress for the economy, the environment and working families.”

The members of SMART Local 105 voted to approve the collective bargaining agreement on January 27, 2018. The agreement includes competitive wage increases, good benefits, expanded training opportunities and stronger worker protections. The contract will last three years and creates a jointly controlled employee-training fund to provide employees the ability to acquire and strengthen the necessary skills for a career in high-technology green manufacturing.

The signing ceremony represents the culmination of a cooperative long-term relationship among BYD, SMART and Jobs to Move America to provide pathways to economic and environmental sustainability. These partners are dedicated to helping revitalize the middle class with well-paying manufacturing jobs and strengthening our communities by building clean, electric buses.

“We are very happy and pleased that the workers realized the benefits they will be receiving with union representation,” said Local 105 President/Business Manager Luther Medina. “This is a big victory for Local 105, the workers at BYD and the Antelope Valley community. We are pleased to be adding new members to the ranks of Sheet Metal Workers Local 105.”

BYD’s labor contract follows last year’s groundbreaking community benefits agreement with Jobs to Move America, which committed BYD to hiring 40% of its workers from populations facing significant barriers to employment, such as veterans, women and African-Americans.

“Jobs to Move America congratulates our partners at SMART Local 105 and BYD on this historic milestone . This labor agreement is going to transform standards in the electric bus industry,” stated Erika Thi Patterson, California Director of Jobs to Move America. “ There is no company in the electric bus sector with an agreement of this kind.  We’re very excited for the tremendous impact this contract will have on the quality of life for BYD workers at the Lancaster facility and the regional economy.”


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