CALIFORNIA AND SOUTHERN NEVADA BUILDING TRADES JOIN BRIGHTLINE WEST IN HISTORIC COMMITMENT TO ADVANCE U.S. HIGH-SPEED RAIL
Mar 9, 2023
Building and Construction Trades to Lead Development of System Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California
LAS VEGAS (March 9, 2023) – Today, the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC), Southern Nevada Building Trades Union and Brightline West, announced a historic memorandum of understanding to construct America’s first true high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California. The agreement will ensure that Brightline West will be built with unionized labor in California and Nevada, creating nearly 10,000 construction jobs and career opportunities.
As the California affiliate of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), the SBCTC has 157 affiliated unions from 14 different construction craft unions, 22 local building trades councils, and about 125 affiliated Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees (JATCs) that are responsible for training apprentices and providing journeyman upgrade training throughout the state. In total, SBCTC has nearly 500,000 members including roughly 70,000 apprentices.
“The California Building Trades is excited to partner with Brightline West and the Southern Nevada Building Trades on this historic project bringing high-speed rail and thousands of new construction jobs to Southern California and Southern Nevada. Our members are ready to get to work building this vital transportation project linking California to Las Vegas,” said Andrew Meredith, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. “It’s important to remember that we have a long history of building California’s most vital and groundbreaking projects. We applaud Brightline West’s commitment to using the highest quality, skilled and trained workforce to build this project on time and under budget. Making that commitment means the women and men building the project are receiving the compensation, benefits, and protections they deserve.”
The Southern Nevada Building Trades Union, an alliance of craft unions for highly skilled and productive construction labor, joins the agreement on behalf of 14 local labor unions across the region. Representing thousands including iron workers, insulators, electrical workers and more, the partnership brings the project one step closer to connecting Las Vegas and Southern California with a green, efficient, high-speed rail system.
"This is a momentous day for the workers of Southern Nevada, specifically members of the Southern Nevada Building Trades Union, as we announce our partnership with Brightline West and the California Building Trades to create our country’s first true high-speed rail system,” said Vince Saavedra, executive secretary-treasurer of the Southern Nevada Building Trades Union. "Our thousands of high-skilled members of our allied unions are standing at the ready to build this rail system. Nevada was built on the backs of our labor union members, and this historic rail project will continue that legacy. This project will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and bring millions of dollars into our economy, and I am proud of the role our unions will play in it."
Economic studies show that Brightline West will create more than 35,000 jobs including 10,000 construction jobs and nearly 1,000 permanent jobs for operations and maintenance. The project is expected to generate more than $10 billion in economic impact to California and Nevada. The system is projected to have nearly 1,000 permanent jobs for operations and maintenance.
“We continue to build a powerful coalition around Brightline West and our vision for high-speed rail in America,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline Holdings. “Brightline West will provide unmatched economic benefits and career opportunities for thousands in Nevada and California. This partnership brings us one step closer to putting a shovel in the ground.”
Brightline West is a 218-mile system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California within the Interstate 15 right-of-way with trains capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour. The journey will begin with a station in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. that will offer direct connectivity with California Metrolink. Additional stations will be built in Hesperia and Apple Valley, Calif. and Las Vegas.
Today’s agreement follows a recent commitment between Brightline West and the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition to operate and maintain Brightline West. That coalition is comprised of 13 rail unions representing more than 160,000 freight, regional, commuter and passenger railroad workers in the United States.
Both agreements demonstrate the support of union labor for the development of Brightline West and the company’s commitment to providing the safest possible rail operations and high-quality working conditions for its employees.
The $10 billion investment has widespread economic benefits and equally impressive environmental benefits. The fully electric, emission-free system will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S., removing 3 million cars and 400,000 tons of CO2 each year.
Brightline is the only private provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity passenger rail service in America. The company currently serves Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach in Florida, with its Orlando station beginning service in 2023. Recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in travel, Brightline offers a guest-first experience designed to reinvent train travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too close to fly and too long to drive. Brightline West will build on this award-winning service by connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, with stations in Las Vegas, Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Rancho Cucamonga, and connectivity to Metrolink’s regional rail network.