FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JMA: Paola Rodelas
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP:
LOS ANGELES AND BIRMINGHAM, May 26, 2022 – Jobs to Move America (“JMA”), Greater Birmingham Ministries (“GBM”), and New Flyer of America Inc. (“New Flyer”) – the largest bus manufacturer in North America and leader in electric buses – have announced a multi-state agreement to support workers and local communities surrounding certain New Flyer manufacturing facilities. The agreement is part of a proposed comprehensive settlement package that was approved today by the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“LA Metro”).
The community benefits agreement (“CBA”) covers New Flyer’s manufacturing facilities in Anniston, Alabama and Ontario, California. The CBA outlines the parties’ commitment to work collaboratively to invest in and support the local communities in which the facilities are located as well as New Flyer employees who live there. The Agreements will enhance New Flyer’s existing community outreach efforts.
“Our communities spoke out strongly and New Flyer listened to us. This CBA gives us an opportunity to work together to build a bright future for an untold number of workers in Anniston and around the region. This agreement should serve as a model for employers all around the South who want to do the right thing and invest in our communities and our potential,” says Erica Iheme, former Southern Director and current Deputy Director of Jobs to Move America.
“As a former worker at New Flyer’s Ontario, CA plant, I can see how important an agreement like this CBA will be for job recruitment, hiring and job advancement at the company.” said Debbie Pitts, an Acceptance and Delivery Specialist employed from 2012-2017, “Working with communities and organizations to remove systemic barriers to hiring and promotion is an important commitment, and I am proud of New Flyer’s decision to launch this partnership in multiple states.”
The CBA establishes goals of 45% of new hires and 20% of promotions at each facility of individuals from groups who have historically been underrepresented or underserved and have had limited access to good jobs in American manufacturing. This includes people of color, women, and veterans. New Flyer and JMA and GBM (JMA and GBM together, the “Coalition Partners”) will work together to develop more robust training programs, focused on increasing access to employment and career advancement for these historically disadvantaged groups.
The CBA has additional components, including:
- A designated community organization to assist employees in making and resolving complaints through New Flyer’s internal complaint process about perceived harassment or discrimination;
- Participation by the Coalition Partners in identifying employees to participate on New Flyer’s environmental health committee in Anniston which regularly discusses employee safety matters,
- Independent safety training by an external expert;
- New Flyer will extend the hiring protections for systems-impacted people (so-called ‘ban the box’ rules) that it already follows in California and Minnesota to applicants in Anniston, Alabama;
- A commitment to increase Spanish bilingual capacity in New Flyer’s outreach, recruitment, human resources, training materials, and workplace communications; and
- Provisions to allow employees to attend a semi-annual debt clinic hosted by a Coalition Partner at the New Flyer Anniston facility during non-work time.
The parties have committed to work cooperatively and positively with each other in their efforts to increase business and employment opportunities at these facilities.
“We proudly stand with workers across America, lifting up families and communities with access to quality manufacturing jobs,” said Rachel Jensen, JMA’s co-lead trial counsel and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP partner. “We applaud New Flyer for recognizing that what’s good for workers is good for business.” Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading class-action firms representing plaintiffs in securities fraud, antitrust, fiduciary duty, consumer fraud, and privacy cases. Visit www.rgrdlaw.com.
“The Community Benefits Agreement goes a long way in improving the quality of life for New Flyer workers in California. Apprenticeship programs, job training, targeted recruitment and promotion of historically marginalized groups – these are just a few of the life-changing programs that are contained in the Agreement,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins, “Metro applauds both Jobs to Move America and New Flyer for coming together to create this unique and socially uplifting Agreement.”
The CBA is part of a proposed comprehensive settlement agreement between JMA and New Flyer in a California False Claims Act lawsuit. In November 2018, JMA filed a “qui tam” complaint on behalf of the State of California and LA Metro against New Flyer relating to its reporting of wages and benefits with respect to a “U.S. Employment Plan” in a 2013 LA Metro bus procurement contract. New Flyer denies the claims in the lawsuit and any wrongdoing. In addition to the CBA, the proposed settlement includes a settlement fund and five years of enhanced reporting for any contracts with LA Metro containing an employment plan. If the Court approves the settlement agreement, JMA plans to use the settlement funds to create programs to further benefit individuals and local communities in Alabama, California and elsewhere.
Below are a series of statements from public officials and advocates:
“Good jobs are the bedrock of a strong community, and the Biden-Harris Administration has made clear that investments in clean energy and transportation are also opportunities to create good jobs in communities across America. Workers across the country are demanding more from their work, and Community Benefits Agreements between community leaders representing business and workers advance not just our climate goals but economic security and equity for working people. That is why we are so encouraged by today’s announcement.” – Julie Su, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor
“This is a landmark community benefit agreement that will improve the lives of workers in the South, and we are proud to have supported it. Working people, together with the communities they are a part of, must have a voice in shaping regional investments that impact their lives at work and at home. With this agreement, New Flyer commits to high-road practices that the working people who build our buses and transportation systems deserve.” – Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO
“Los Angeles and Alabama are showing America how we can come together to act boldly to advance racial justice, create economic opportunity, and move urgently on climate action. Today, we celebrate a huge win for Los Angeles: new, good-paying jobs for folks who have faced barriers to opportunity and now have a path to a better quality of life, and future, for themselves and their children.” – Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
“With this agreement, LA Metro has demonstrated its strength and impact when it stands up for workers. I’d like to commend LA Metro leadership, Jobs to Move America, and New Flyer on a partnership that reflects a monumental step toward racial and economic justice in Los Angeles and across the Country.” – Holly J. Mitchell, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
“This settlement is a win for all of us, and a signal that Metro, New Flyer, and Jobs to Move America remain incredibly committed to creating good jobs for the workers that need them the most,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District and former Labor Secretary under President Obama. “As Metro rolls out its multi-billion dollar capital program over the next few years, it is imperative that we devote as much of our infrastructure funding as possible to serving historically underrepresented communities. That is how we bring equitable transportation to every resident.” – Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County First District Supervisor
“This historic agreement shows just how much can be accomplished through the combination of good jobs policies and high road partnerships. As we prepare to make an unprecedented investment in our clean energy future, we must look towards this as a model–showing that when businesses make real, enforceable commitments to high quality jobs, advancing racial and worker justice, and investing in local communities, we all win. Congratulations to JMA, New Flyer, LA Metro for making this historic agreement happen, and thank you for standing up for workers and our communities.” – Maria Elena Durazo, California Senator
“This historic agreement lays the groundwork for a transformational partnership between New Flyer and its workers, and their communities. New Flyer has shown that it understands that offering good jobs and a career path to a diverse workforce will make the company even stronger. Together we are setting a new standard for the revitalization of manufacturing in North America. The Community Benefits Agreement between JMA and New Flyer is truly transformational, and I’m proud to stand alongside JMA in their work to support good jobs and thriving communities.” – Carl Kennebrew, President, IUE-CWA
“Hometown Action is committed to helping Alabamians build local movements to support thriving, sustainable communities, and we see community benefits agreements as an important strategy in our grassroots community organizing. We’re pleased to be an active partner organization in the Alabama Coalition for Community Benefits and look forward to working with New Flyer and other businesses and community leaders to achieve our vision for a better Alabama where workers have an integral voice in shaping our state’s future.” – Kathleen Kirkpatrick, Climate & Strategic Initiatives Director, Hometown Action
“I feel that a groundbreaking agreement has been reached between New Flyer and Jobs to Move America and GBM. The Community Benefits Agreement with New Flyer is a first step in partnering with corporations coming to Alabama and other southern states to create good jobs in our communities. For the first time in Alabama, there is a legally enforced agreement with a corporation that will be on record agreeing to principles of worker fairness and community benefits including definable goals in racial and ethnic hiring equity, training inclusion, inclusive access to supervisory tracks and especially, pre-apprenticeships to help end the pattern of no on-ramps for worker progress in oppressed communities. The agreement is a milestone for working families in Alabama. It’s a first, but it won’t be the last.” – Scott Douglas, Executive Director, Greater Birmingham Ministries
Below is New Flyer’s statement:
“Workforce development and diversity, equity, and inclusion have always been important to New Flyer. We and JMA are aligned in wanting to provide equal opportunity for people and communities to thrive – and more so – to continue investing in workforce development that fosters scalable adoption of clean transportation across America, in an industry where every person can participate meaningfully,” said Janice Harper, Executive Vice President of People and Culture, New Flyer.
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.
About the Alabama Coalition for Community Benefits
The Alabama Coalition for Community Benefits is a coalition of labor, community, civil rights, faith, and environmental justice groups working to hold corporations that do business in the South accountable to workers and communities
About Robbins Geller
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading complex litigation firms, representing plaintiffs in securities fraud, shareholder derivative, antitrust, corporate takeover, and consumer fraud and privacy cases. With 200 lawyers in 9 offices, Robbins Geller is one of the world’s largest plaintiffs’ firms and the Firm’s attorneys have obtained many of the largest securities, antitrust, and consumer class action recoveries in history. The Firm represents many of the largest public and private pension funds in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe in precedent-setting cases to hold corporations accountable, including a U.S. Supreme Court case against Goldman Sachs and a high-profile corruption case in Ohio involving First Energy Corporation. The Firm is ranked #1 on the 2021 ISS Securities Class Action Services Top 50 Report for recovering nearly $2 billion for investors last year alone – more than triple the amount recovered by any other plaintiffs’ firm. The Firm secured the largest-ever securities fraud class action settlement — $7.2 billion — in In re Enron Corp. Securities Litigation. For media inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 338-3821.
View our press conference here: