Date: March 10, 2022
To: Marc Bedard, CEO-Founder
921 Chem. de la Rivière du Nord
Saint-Jérôme, QC J7Y 5H1, Canada
Dear Mr. Bedard,
We, the undersigned members of the Alliance for Electric School Buses (AESB) and allied organizations, have played a leading role in advocating for electric school buses because we believe that every child deserves a safe, healthy, clean ride to and from school. We know that this transition is crucial to improving the health of students and communities and combating climate change. The AESB’s advocacy has secured billions of dollars of investment in electric school buses (ESBs) at the local, state, and federal levels. We are united by a commitment to promote racial, environmental, and economic justice through the transition of the nation’s school bus fleet to clean electric models, with members from major organizations across the U.S. representing the environmental, equity, and labor movements.
Fundamental to our work is ensuring that the transition to electric school buses is centered on equity and justice. Core to that is knowing that families need access to stable careers with good wages, quality health care, adequate paid time off, and respect in the workplace.
As staunch advocates for clean buses for kids, we want to recognize and commend Lion Electric for devoting its operations entirely to the production of electric buses and trucks. We believe this decision has helped the company take a leading position in the development and deployment of ESBs. We are also highly encouraged by your additional commitment to the U.S. school bus market by investing in a new production facility in Joliet, Illinois.
It is our hope that you will also demonstrate industry leadership and social responsibility by working collaboratively with community stakeholders in Illinois including the United Auto Workers to negotiate a community benefits agreement (CBA). The content of such agreements is determined through discussions between the company and a labor-community coalition, and at minimum includes a fair process for employees to decide on union representation, commitments to diverse hiring, and a jobs pipeline with skills training, and can include other community priorities such as environmental mitigation. Other heavy-duty manufacturing companies that have signed CBAs have benefitted immensely from the broad expertise of community, workforce,
education, labor, and environmental partners to successfully recruit, hire, train, and promote workers from the local community who are underrepresented in the manufacturing sector.
By negotiating a community benefits agreement, you will show a real commitment to your community and your employees, to the people of Illinois, and to the U.S. government—which is investing heavily in ESBs in order to reduce emissions, clean our air, and create good new jobs in the medium and heavy duty electric vehicle (EV) sector. A CBA will also help Lion to thrive as it recruits and develops the talent it needs to enjoy growing success as the nation begins the needed transition towards all-electric buses and trucks.
We would like to request a meeting to discuss these matters and see how we can advance our shared objectives. Together we can ensure a rapid transition to electric school buses that centers the needs of communities and workers. We look forward to hearing from you.
Dream Corps Green for All*
Electric School Bus Newsletter*
Jobs to Move America*
League of Conservation Voters*
Moms Clean Air Force*
Mothers Out Front*
Save the Sound*
Center for American Progress
Center for Biological Diversity
Elders Climate Action
Friends of the Earth
Labor Network for Sustainability
Natural Resources Defense Council
*Members, Alliance for Electric School Buses