Major EV company breaks agreement with community, showing the importance of the fight to win good jobs everywhere
Los Angeles, CA, October 3, 2023 – In a press conference hosted by Jobs to Move America, the Office of LA County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and United Steelworkers Local 675 (USW), community leaders, workers, and advocates denounced EV Bus Manufacturer Proterra’s closure of their manufacturing facilities in the City of Industry. The group also called on federal and state agencies to require stronger worker and community commitments in public spending utilizing tools like the US Employment Plan and community benefits agreements to support high quality job creation everywhere.
In 2020, Silicon Valley-based Proterra signed a Community Benefits Agreement with a Community-Labor-Environmental coalition for a new unionized EV factory in the City of Industry. Proterra closed this factory September 29th, and is moving all operations to non-union South Carolina, breaking their agreement with Los Angeles workers and community members.
Hilda L. Solis, LA County Board of Supervisors, First District
“When I first learned about Proterra’s decision to leave its City of Industry electric bus production facility, I became extremely concerned for the hundreds of workers and their families who would be stressed by the impending loss of economic security,” said Supervisor Solis. “I am grateful for the leadership and partnership of the United Steelworkers Local 675 and Jobs to Move America who have been working closely with my office and the Los Angeles County Department of Economic Opportunity to proactively connect workers affected by the closure with opportunities for employment and other resources.”
Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Council President; Councilmember, Second District
“Proterra has received generous assistance from the State of California to promote the production of electric vehicles here in California. They’ve enjoyed the enthusiastic support of local communities, from groups like Jobs to Move America, and not least from the United Steelworkers. To accept this support and then move its plant and the jobs that go with it to another state is unacceptable, especially moving our jobs to a state that doesn’t respect the rights of its workers as we do in California. Proterra needs to rethink this decision and work with our state and local authorities, to work with Jobs That Move America and the United Steelworkers and come up with a solution that honors the faith we placed in them. We’re ready to help if they’re willing to honor their commitments and stay in Southern California.”
Hector Huezo, California Director, Jobs to Move America
“Proterra breaking its promise to communities and working families in California and moving to the South where legislatures have been openly hostile to workers’ rights, are exactly why we need federal agencies who are financing clean tech companies across the country to require firm job commitments, training, family sustaining wages and benefits and bona fide commitments to workers and communities. This will help ensure that working people aren’t left in the dust as companies profit from new green investments.”
Kelly LoBianco, Director of LA County’s Department of Economic Opportunity
“The shutdown and departure of Proterra’s operations, one of the very few green battery manufacturing businesses in LA County, is tremendously discouraging to our local workers, their families and the community at large especially following the collective economic hardships endured during the pandemic. We’re here to help guide our local workers and businesses through this time of uncertainty.”
Blanchard Pinto, USW Local 675 member / ex-Proterra Worker
“I was coached and manipulated to move to California with the idea of having a better future and long career with Proterra. I moved here with my wife and kids. Now I have to find a different job to try to provide a quality way of living.”
Gary Holloway, Field Director, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675
“In 2022, Proterra was booking record sales, running at capacity, and opening a new plant in South Carolina. Then earlier this year, management informed workers in the City of Industry facility that their work was being moved to the new Greer, South Carolina plant. These workers have been abandoned by Proterra. It’s an insult to these workers who made them profits and California taxpayers who helped the company get established in the state. The EV sector is a significant part of the future green economy, but it also must have good wages and working conditions, and not built on companies ‘taking their money and running.’”
Candice Youngblood, Associate Attorney, Earthjustice
“Earthjustice stands in solidarity with the community and the United Steelworkers in ensuring that electric buses not only provide climate and clean air benefits, but also are made with good job standards and community benefits.”
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.