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Published on March 1st, 2018 | by Nicolas Zart


BYD Finally Makes Up With Labor Union & Signs Electric Bus Collective Bargaining Agreement In US

March 1st, 2018 by  

A landmark agreement could mark a turning point for BYD’s electric vehicles (EV), electric buses (e-bus), clean technology manufacturing, and green growth for the economy and environment in the US. BYD will finally sign a contract with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transit Workers (SMART) Union Local 105 after years of uneasy relations.

BYD Finds How Tough It Is Manufacturing Electric Buses In The US

BYD SMART Contract e-bus

BYD SMART Contract e-bus

The road to market shares in the US for China’s BYD (Build Your Dreams) has been fraught with delays, controversies, and legalities. BYD bumped heads with the powerful US labor union which slowed down its EV bus manufacturing ambitions somewhat. It has been making electric buses and selling them for some time, as we can finally start to see throughout the country. But establishing its manufacturing in the US has proven to be a bigger challenge than it must have anticipated decades ago.

The company’s progress came more or less to a halt a few years ago when neither BYD nor the Labor Unions saw eye-to-eye. Since then, BYD has been trying to deal with something it is probably not used to back home, namely unions.

However, the good news is that on Thursday, March 1, BYD and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transit Workers (SMART) Union Local 105 will finally bury the hatchet and come together to sign the first collective bargaining agreement in the United States’ electric bus industry. The signing ceremony is the result of a long and arduous road that will hopefully lead to a long-term relationship between BYD, SMART and, ideally, Jobs to Move America (JMA).

As far as the ceremony, it will be held with The Honorable Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor, District 1 and The Honorable R. Rex Parris, Mayor, City of Lancaster, The Honorable Ara Najarian, City Councilmember, City of Glendale, Macy Neshati, Senior Vice President of BYD Heavy Industries, Luther Medina, President/Business Manager of SMART Local 105, and Erika Thi Patterson, California Director, Jobs to Move America and dignitaries will provide public comments. When? Thursday, March 1st, 2018 at 8:15 a.m. at the South Steps of LA Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952 if you happen to live nearby.

Is BYD Finally Going To Manufacture E-Buses In The US?

BYD’s entrance into the US market has been rocky but steady. Its electric buses are already on the road in a few cities around the country. And let’s not forget, BYD doesn’t only have just buses. It also has cars, which brings the Chinese e-mobility manufacturer a step closer to building its cars and dreams within the US with this agreement. With this obstacle behind, BYD e-buses could be made locally very soon.

BYD SMART Contract e-bus

BYD SMART Contract e-bus

It’s funny to think that ten years ago, we test drove BYD’s electric e6 around Los Angeles. We were surprised at how close the car was from being public-ready and the performance was very honorable. It had a claimed range of about 160 to 140 miles.

We’re happy to see everyone coming together to work on being a part of the green mobility new world. It’s exciting seeing more e-buses all over our country and the world, may they be BYD or other capable companies. 


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About the Author

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. His communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"

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