Labor and Community Groups Sign Landmark Community Benefits Agreement with Proterra
EV bus manufacturer and technology provider commits to goal of hiring 50% of its workers from communities facing significant barriers to employment, such as veterans, women, and people of color.
LOS ANGELES, December 23, 2020 – Jobs to Move America’s community-labor coalition in California along with Proterra, a leading innovator in heavy duty electric transportation, and the United Steelworkers Local 675 (USW 675) today announced the groups have entered into a historic community benefits agreement (CBA) in Los Angeles County.
The CBA will lead to transformative investments in Los Angeles communities to train, support, and hire workers for skilled union jobs in zero-emissions bus manufacturing at Proterra’s City of Industry facility.
Under the legally enforceable agreement, Proterra commits to a goal of 50 percent of new hires to be from communities facing significant barriers to employment, including people of color, veterans, and returning citizens.
“To tackle the converging crises of our time — skyrocketing unemployment, systemic racism, and climate change — we need to invest in the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Our community benefits agreement with Proterra and USW 675 will lay the foundation for a just recovery in Los Angeles by creating pathways into high paying, unionized jobs for working families and communities of color. At a time when the entire country desperately needs a recovery plan, our CBA with Proterra is a model for how community, labor, and private partners can work together to create good jobs and healthy communities,” said Melanie Jamileh Prasad, JMA’s California Director.
“Electric vehicle production presents an opportunity to strengthen American manufacturing, create good paying, skilled jobs, and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Proterra is excited to partner with Jobs to Move America and USW 675 as we grow our manufacturing presence in Los Angeles County and work toward our collective goal of healthy communities driven by zero-emission transportation,” said Kelly Scheib, Proterra’s Vice President of Human Resources.
The CBA includes commitments to:
- Allow for the creation of worker-led groups, such as the Latinx Group and Veterans Groups. JMA, USW 675, and Proterra will be able to jointly review feedback from the groups to identify resources for ongoing worker-identified needs.
- Develop a pre-hire training program. This objective was realized earlier this year with the launch of a first-of-its-kind Electric Bus
- Manufacturing technology training program at Proterra.
- Develop an apprenticeship program.
- Expand Proterra’s Spanish-English language capacity beginning with the translation of key documents to ensure ESL workers are set up for success.
- Allow JMA coalition partners to provide ongoing supportive services, such as case management, for workers with employee approval.
Proterra’s City of Industry facility employs over 75 union workers.
USW 675 was officially recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative for Proterra employees when workers voted for union representation in November 2019. Earlier this year, Proterra and USW 675 entered into their first Collective Bargaining Agreement, ensuring worker voice and representation remain central to the long-term health and success of the company.
In October, Proterra along with the Los Angeles County Department of Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services (WDACS), Proterra, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675, Jobs to Move America, and Citrus College launched a first-of-its-kind Electric Bus Manufacturing technology training program, which was developed to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and job quality in the green manufacturing sector by targeting historically underrepresented groups with barriers to employment. The customized, nine-week training program taught by Citrus College was designed in partnership with production and assembly management at Proterra, a leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, and will help fill union jobs manufacturing battery-electric buses at Proterra’s City of Industry facility.