JMA: Lauren LaBorde
Ahead of Grand Opening, Coalition Calls for Community Benefits Agreement With Lion Electric
The Good Jobs Joliet (GJJ) coalition calls on Lion to commit to creating quality jobs at its new facility.
JOLIET, IL – As Lion Electric officially opens its new manufacturing facility in Joliet, Illinois, a growing coalition of community members is calling on the electric vehicle company to negotiate a community benefits agreement (CBA) and commit to creating good jobs and investing in the community.
The Canadian manufacturer of electric school buses and other heavy-duty vehicles already stands to benefit from over $85 million in public funding—$31.4 million in approved purchase orders under the U.S. EPA Clean School Bus Program; $46.1 million in California HVIP voucher requests; and more than $8 million in approved tax breaks from Illinois and municipalities*, with even more on the way.
Since starting production in Joliet, Lion has been hiring workers through a temporary staff agency, not providing tool training for new hires, and offering starting hourly wages of $18-$21, comparable to wages at Amazon’s Joliet warehouses**.
“We’ve seen other big companies like Amazon come into our community, get millions in our tax money, and in return clog our roads, pollute our air, and give us temp jobs and low wages,” said Betsy Satcher, President of the Eastside Neighborhood Council. “We hope Lion can be different by making real commitments to good jobs, training and a healthier community, especially for Joliet’s Black and brown residents.”
“United Auto Workers (UAW) is committed to making all auto manufacturing jobs good jobs. As the EV transition ramps up, it’s unacceptable to see these new companies like Lion Electric come in, receive millions in tax breaks, and fail to do the right thing for communities and workers,” said Brandon W. Campbell, director of UAW Region 4. “UAW is proud to stand with our partners calling for a community benefits agreement that makes sure these are good jobs, accessible to everyone, where workers’ right to organize is respected.”
The Good Jobs Joliet Coalition calls on Lion to negotiate a CBA that ensures:
- A community hiring program targets groups that face barriers to good manufacturing jobs including people of color, women and formerly incarcerated people
- High-quality training that allows workers to do their jobs safely and earn an industry-recognized credential
- A fair process for workers to choose a union to solidify quality pay, benefits and workplace safety
Jobs Move America, part of the coalition, has negotiated agreements at electric vehicle manufacturers including BYD and most recently, New Flyer. The CBA at BYD created a first-of-its-kind training program to prepare workers for the electric vehicle industry.
About Good Jobs Joliet (facebook.com/GoodJobsJoliet)
Good Jobs Joliet is a growing coalition of community members and groups working to win good jobs in Will County, Illinois.
About Jobs to Move America (jobstomoveamerica.org)
Jobs to Move America is a strategic policy center that works to transform public spending and corporate behavior using a comprehensive approach that is rooted in racial and economic justice and community organizing. We seek to advance a fair and prosperous economy with good jobs and healthier communities for all.
* $31.4 million in approved purchase orders under the EPA Clean School Bus Program (6/14/23); $8 million in approved tax breaks from Illinois and municipalities (IL Edge Tax Credit Agreement, 4/29/21; June-July 2021 Property Tax Abatement Agreements with Will County, City of Joliet, Troy and Minooka school districts); $46.1 million in CA HVIP voucher funding requests, including redeemed and unredeemed vouchers, as of 6/30/23.
** Information about temporary agency hiring, lack of tools training, and wage rates stated to GJJ representatives during visit to Lion facility on 7/11/23; from Proman Staffing Automotive Assembler Job Ad, 7/20/2023; and from Amazon Joliet, IL Fulfillment Center Warehouse Associate Job Ad, 7/20/2023.