Kinkisharyo Agreement Reached, Metro Rail Cars To Be Built in Palmdale

Kinkisharyo rail car. Photo from Don Knabe blog
Kinkisharyo rail car. Photo from Don’s Blog

In October, the L.A. Times declared Kinkisharyo’s Palmdale Metro light rail car manufacturing plant “all but dead.” KPCC reported that County Supervisor Mike Antonovich spoke at a rally condemning labor’s legal challenges as “nonsense.” County Supervisor Don Knabe opined that “regulatory red tape” had cost L.A. County jobs.

Apparently, the reports of the death of local rail car manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated.

At a recent Metro meeting, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had hinted that he was looking into this matter.

Today, the mayor announced that an agreement had been reached to allow manufacturing to proceed in Palmdale. Parties to the agreement include Kinkisharyo, Metro, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), and organized labor, including International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union Number Eleven (IBEW 11). As the Metro light rail system expands, its rail cars will be assembled by workers in Palmdale.

The announcement follows a pattern of Garcetti assuming the mantle of a regional leader. The mayor has repeatedly stated that his responsibilities don’t end at L.A. City borders. Whether it is supporting Gold Line extensions east of Los Angeles, or sticking up for architecture in Orange County, Garcetti has made a point of supporting the region.

Portions of Mayor Garcetti’s announcement are after the jump; the full statement is available on Mayor Garcetti’s website.


LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor and L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Chair Eric Garcetti today announced that an agreement has been reached between Kinkisharyo International, LLC and labor and community groups to resolve an impasse that would have seen the company locate manufacturing operations for its next order of Metro light rail cars outside of L.A. County. Mayor Garcetti intervened to continue stalled talks among the parties, resulting in the agreement.

“Last month, the lines were drawn in the sand and we were going to see jobs that could be in L.A. County go somewhere else. But because we brought both sides back to the table to grind out night and day negotiations with my office, L.A. County is going to see new middle class jobs and an expansion of our manufacturing base,” Mayor and Metro Chair Garcetti said. “As I oversee the nation’s largest public works project as Mayor and Metro Chair, it’s critical to me that our economy benefits from our $36 billion transportation build out, and this agreement makes that happen. Creating good, local jobs as we strengthen our local infrastructure is key to my back to basics agenda for L.A. ”

As a result of the agreement, Kinkisharyo will expand the current light rail car assembly and testing operations at its existing site in Palmdale to include manufacturing tasks, which will create up to a total of 250 jobs. The 175 cars being worked on at the facility will be put into service on the Crenshaw, Exposition, and extended Gold lines. The agreement includes a neutrality agreement, as well as a commitment to explore additional skills training and assistance for disadvantaged L.A. County workers.

Over the last month, negotiations took place via separate and joint meetings with both sides, conference calls and night and day sessions in the Mayor’s office, with the company and labor and community groups each at times stationed in separate conference rooms and the Mayor’s staff going back and forth to broker the deal. Mayor Garcetti directly participated in the negotiations in person and via telephone.

[…]

Under this agreement:

– Kinkisharyo has signed a neutrality agreement
– LACMTA (Metro) will work with the Jobs to Move America coalition to develop new public records act protocols
– Labor and community groups settled a public records act lawsuit and agreed that all environmental challenges are now moot
– Kinkisharyo and the Jobs to Move America coalition will explore ways to expand opportunities for disadvantaged L.A. County workers including military veterans, women and people of color, and will explore potential job readiness training programs

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