General Motors Subsidiary Putting Profits Ahead of Human Lives
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(SAN FRANCISCO) – Bay Area Teamsters declared an end to an exploratory alliance with Cruise AV, a San Francisco-based tech company that opposed vehicle safety legislation during a contentious committee hearing on Assembly Bill 316 (AB 316). The proposed legislation, sponsored by the Teamsters, would require human operators to be present in autonomous vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.
The bill has widespread, bipartisan support from Californians worried about highway safety, but Cruise AV opposed the legislation during the hearing on March 13 in Sacramento.
“We find it incredible that a prominent player in the autonomous vehicle sector would publicly oppose traffic and highway safety,” said Tony Delorio, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 665. “A position like that ends our potential partnership with Cruise.”
In recent months, the Teamsters and Cruise AV, a subsidiary of General Motors, explored working together to expand a unionized workforce that maintains and inventories the fleet. But at the end of the hearing Monday, Teamster leaders said, “No more,” to Cruise AV’s outrageous and dangerous behavior.
“We cannot work with partners who will not maintain core principles regarding safety and worker protections,” Delorio said. “This legislation is important. Fortunately, the Assembly Transportation Committee moved this bill forward. California Teamster leaders are united in fighting to protect the highest safety standards for California roads, which includes having experienced, trained professionals at the wheel.”
Cruise AV courted a relationship with the Teamsters to expand its fleet and gain acceptance from elected officials and the public. The Teamsters said the testimony at Monday’s hearing runs counter to statements made to the union by Cruise AV in recent weeks.
“The tech industry talks about disruption as a model for advancement and innovation, however, our union draws a red line when that model only serves greedy corporations looking to boost profits by eliminating middle class jobs,” said Peter Finn, Western Region Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 856. “Trucks that are driven by robots instead of people threaten the safety of the public. The majority of Californians know that’s the truth and they stand with us on this issue.”
After the hearing, AB 316 moved out of the Assembly Transportation Committee. It will be vetted through the California Assembly and State Senate later in this year’s legislative session.
Teamsters Local 665 represents over 5,000 members throughout the Bay Area in waste management, transportation, and a wide variety of other industries. For more information, go to Teamsters665.org/.