IAM Urges San Francisco to Buy ‘American-Made’ Trains

In a letter to San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors, IAM President Tom Buffenbarger responded to reports that BART is considering a firm that outsources work to Mexico and China for a $3 billion contract to build 775 passenger cars.

“These media reports are extremely disturbing to our union, but most importantly – to the hundreds of workers that we currently represent at Alstom Transportation,” said Buffenbarger. “Our members at Alstom are some of the most highly-skilled and productive railcar manufactory workers in the world. They have produced over 7,000 U.S. metro cars at Alstom’s Hornell, NY rail passenger car facility and these cars are regarded as some of the world’s most reliable – with some traveling more than 1,400,000 miles before requiring significant maintenance.”

Buffenbarger also called on BART officials to consider the California law which permits BART to award extra points to companies that exceed a 60 percent “Made in America” threshold.

“Alstom has submitted a competitive proposal for the BART contract and pledged to deliver rail cars that are 95 percent ‘Made in America,’” said Buffenbarger. “As the largest railroad union, we know this level of domestic content has been absent from the U.S. rail industry since the 1980’s. We strongly commend Alstom for submitting a proposal that makes a huge investment in American workers.”

Given the size of the BART contract, Alstom’s commitment to ‘Make it in America’ is expected to create nearly 3,000 jobs nationwide, including 500 high-quality jobs at Alstom’s Hornell facility and 50 jobs for Bay Area workers at its Mare Island facility.

In closing, Buffenbarger urged BART to “give strong consideration for the proposal that uses American tax dollars to create American jobs over the proposal that would send those same funds offshore.”