Jouley Jolts Jobs: Congresswoman Manning, Labor, Climate Leaders
Plug Electric Buses Made with Union Labor in High Point, NC
Thomas Built Buses tackles climate while creating family-sustaining jobs,
supplying schools across the U.S. with clean, emission-free buses
COLFAX, N.C.— At a press conference this morning, the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, NC State AFL-CIO, and their affiliated United Auto Workers Local 5287 and Teamsters Local 391 joined forces with Congresswoman Kathy Manning (Guilford, Forsyth) to plug electric buses as a climate-saving, community-transforming job creator.
The entire event is on NCLCV’s Facebook here, starting at about the 11:20 mark. A tweet with photos from the event is here. Other photos, video clips, the list of speakers, and a fact sheet including information about Jouley, climate change, climate solutions, and public opinion polls are here.
Riding in for the occasion was Jouley (pronounced “Julie”), an electric bus made by Thomas Built Buses in High Point, NC. Thomas Built supplies school systems across the country with electric buses made by UAW workers, including Local 5287 President Christopher Pratt. “Labor is always looking to the future, and today the future is Jouley the bus,” said Pratt. “We have already received orders from Michigan, Alaska, Massachusetts, and Indiana. Our 50th Jouley was delivered earlier this year to Virginia. We also received the largest order of electric school buses in the history of the country from the state of Maryland.”
“What Thomas Built and the UAW are doing here is a perfect example of the family-sustaining jobs being created to power our planet-sustaining future,” said Dan Crawford, NCLCV Director of Governmental Relations.
Crawford and Manning pointed out the air quality benefits school bus electrification will have for children and workers like Mary Suzan, steward for the Teamsters local and a Guilford County Schools bus driver. “We need the federal government to do everything they can to provide funding to upgrade our school buses, and to use the money to purchase Thomas Built electric buses,” Suzan said. “This is a win-win scenario for everyone: new, safe school buses for our school system, clean air for our students, workers, and community, and good union jobs for people in the Triad.”
For the last several months, President Biden has been pushing Congress to pass his Build Back Better plan, which NCLCV, the state AFL-CIO, and their national organizations support. A key component of the plan is immediate funding to make one-fifth of the nation’s school bus fleet fossil fuel-free, on the way to 100%. With Congress crafting an historic package of clean energy and transportation investments in response, NCLCV and others are pushing for full funding for school bus electrification and other measures to tackle the climate crisis while creating jobs and justice.
“Inaction is not an answer,” said Congresswoman Manning. “These green solutions will help prevent climate change, and are creating good-paying union jobs across the country and right here in the Sixth District. I support President Biden’s commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure, including the Clean Buses for Kids campaign.”
Kelly Green, another UAW worker who serves as President of the Triad Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO, shared remarks on her behalf as well as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which also “supports this project,” she noted. “Their workforce is well prepared and excited to install the electric charging infrastructure we need to make this dream of electrifying our school bus fleet a reality.”