On May 31, autoworkers and teachers rallied in Washington, DC to call on states, local governments, and school districts around the country to electrify the nation’s school bus fleet with union-built, climate-safe, pollution-free electric school buses.
AFT President Randi Weingarten called the rollout a “win-win-win” for children’s health, for the climate and for the economy. “We need to make sure these electric buses are made in America at unionized factories. We need to ensure that students and drivers are protected from environmental hazards. We need to address the climate crisis.”
UAW President Ray Curry said he wants to see electric buses not only in a handful of cities but in every school district in the country—for “a future that all of us can thrive in.” The workers who build these vehicles need a voice on the job, he said, so that each bus will be built to union standards.
The UAW represents workers at two of the largest bus manufacturers in the nation, Thomas Built in North Carolina and IC Bus in Oklahoma. As a result of the federal infrastructure bill, Thomas Built and IC Bus plan on significantly increasing their hiring to meet the demand for electric school buses. Thomas Built Buses, for example, will supply hundreds of electric school buses to Montgomery County, MD, which will provide the largest single deployment of electric school buses in North America.
You can rewatch the AFT-UAW press conference and rally here.