By Rachele Huennekens, Communications Specialist for Los Angeles Alliance for the New Economy (LAANE)
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has cited and fined Chinese electric vehicle manufacturing company BYD (Build Your Dreams) nearly $100,000 for failing to provide minimum wage, workers’ compensation insurance, a second rest break, and sufficient documentation of pay, for workers in Los Angeles.
According to the New York Times, Chinese-national workers were working for BYD in Los Angeles for up to six months, living in dormitory-style housing in the San Gabriel Valley, and earning just $1.50 an hour plus a $50-per-day allowance. According to the Los Angeles Times, BYD was fined $79,250 and ordered to pay nearly $20,000 in back wages for violations involving 22 employees, including some employees at BYD’s Lancaster, California factory.
Other recent news stories have also called BYD into question for failing to pass federal safety testing for their electric buses, currently being produced for contracts with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Beach Public Transportation Authority.
In response, Madeline Janis, National Policy Director of Los Angeles Alliance for the New Economy (LAANE), issued the following statement:
“BYD has hidden abusive treatment of Chinese workers and substandard electric buses behind a false promise to provide good jobs and clean transportation to Angelenos. These shocking allegations should prompt Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority and Long Beach Public Transportation Authority to reconsider their contracts with BYD.”
“Los Angeles officials must have been asleep at the switch to miss BYD’s potentially unsafe buses, failure to create good jobs for Angelenos, and misuse of millions in taxpayer funds. BYD’s deception underscores the need for our public transportation agencies to monitor contractors and hold them to the highest standards.”
“When public officials commit taxpayers’ money to create jobs and build our transportation systems, they should mean business: certainly not the business of exploiting workers and cutting corners on safety! In future, Los Angeles area public agencies must insist on transparency and good jobs for American workers, from the companies they do business with.”
“Electric buses can provide clean transportation for our community, when made safely by American workers with good jobs. Several electric bus manufacturers with proven job creation and safety records were unfairly passed over for these contracts because of BYD’s outrageous deception.”
Editor’s Note: China-based BYD and the City of Lancaster held a press conference in May to announce the arrival of two BYD manufacturing facilities in Lancaster – an electric bus manufacturing facility and an Iron-Phosphate energy module (large scale battery) manufacturing facility. Read more at: Lancaster welcomes BYD
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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