To the editor: L.A. Metro’s contract with Kinkisharyo International is clear: It requires Kinkisharyo to create at least 194 good-quality, full-time jobs in L.A County. The rail car manufacturer must also comply with state environmental laws, just like any other company in California. (“Union demands driving railcar jobs out of California, Japanese firm says,” Oct. 20)
As a union official, I believe in the right of everyone to organize for better pay, benefits and working conditions. But our recent talks with Kinkisharyo have been about environmental issues — namely, its failure to ensure the proposed manufacturing plant will be built in a way that does not harm residents of Palmdale.
Not only are there many union members who live in Palmdale, but we believe projects should be considered with an eye toward the future. For example, we support solar projects and manufacturing plants that are operated sustainably. Kinkisharyo has refused to work with the community and the labor movement in a positive way.
Taxpayers are funding this massive project. Instead of holding Kinkisharyo accountable, public officials are blaming anyone, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, that raises legitimate concerns about this project.
More than 100 people are currently assembling rail cars in Palmdale for Kinkisharyo. Let’s be sure to keep those jobs here.
Marvin Kropke, Pasadena
The writer is business manager of IBEW Local 11.
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