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Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su Meets with New Flyer Workers in Anniston, Alabama, Following Groundbreaking Contract Win

During Tour of Newly Organized Plant, New Flyer Workers Discussed Contract Ratification, Momentum Building in the South for Union Organizing

ANNISTON, Ala. – Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su visited the Anniston, Ala., New Flyer plant Tuesday to meet with newly organized workers, represented by the International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA). The workers recently celebrated the ratification of their first contract at the largest transit bus manufacturer in North America. During the visit, Su heard from workers about their victory and what it means for workers’ organizing efforts across the South.

“Having the acting Labor Secretary visit New Flyer today was a shock, to say the least. I never would have imagined that our union would attract someone from the Federal level. It goes to show that our contract is changing lives, one page at a time! It was a real treat to have someone recognize Anniston New Flyer in such an impactful way,” said New Flyer worker Ryan Masters.

New Flyer worker Will Hunt said, “It was awesome to see so many people out here in support of all the hard work we did as a union. It gave me a sense of hope and pride knowing that we have made such an impact for our fellow workers around the country.”

In their first union contract with the maker of hybrid and fully electric buses, New Flyer workers secured an array of new benefits, including pay raises ranging from 15 percent to 38 percent by 2026, restrictions on forced overtime, expanded vacation and paid time off, improved parental leave, the addition of Juneteenth as a holiday, guaranteed cost-of-living adjustments, and enhanced retirement benefits. The triumph not only signifies a significant step forward for the employees at New Flyer but also marks a watershed moment in Southern labor history, where unions are making strides in traditionally anti-union territory.

Over the past two years, more than 1,150 New Flyer employees have formed unions with IUE-CWA at facilities in Anniston, Alabama; Shepherdsville, Kentucky; and Jamestown, New York. They now join the 1,200 employees already represented by CWA at New Flyer’s St. Cloud and Crookston, Minn., assembly plants, and together make up the largest union in the public transit bus manufacturing sector in the United States.

Julie Su Meets with New Flyer CWAers 
Secretary Su with New Flyer Workers.

“It was a wonderful experience, and it was great to meet the acting Secretary of Labor. I never thought we would get national attention, and I am proud to be a part of it all,” said New Flyer worker Marcus King.

A labor peace agreement negotiated between the company and CWA in 2022 played a major role in workers’ ability to freely form a union. This high-road approach by New Flyer management ensured that employees could make their own decisions about unionizing without company interference. In 2022, New Flyer also negotiated a community benefits agreement with a coalition of community groups led by Jobs to Move America (JMA), in which the company committed to ambitious hiring and promotion goals aimed at removing barriers for historically disadvantaged groups.

“After my 31 years of working at New Flyer in Anniston, Alabama, I am happy that I was on the CWA Union Bargaining team to fight for today's and tomorrow's working families in Alabama,” said Stevie Thorton. “Helping them to get out of poverty and to receive the equality they deserve! A special thanks to Jobs to Move America and Julie Su for their support and being a part of our union family!”

“I really enjoyed meeting acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. It made me feel so good to know that her and the JMA team cares and supports the workers at New Flyer in Alabama,” said New Flyer worker Johanna Larkins.

“IUE-CWA is grateful for the continued support of acting Labor Secretary Su and the Biden Administration when it comes to creating good, union manufacturing jobs,” said Carl Kennebrew, President of IUE-CWA. “The New Flyer win in Alabama shows that the labor movement is strong in the South, and workers’ feel more empowered than ever to have a voice on the job and get their fair share. This victory also sheds light on the value and importance of commitments from management so that workers can organize without fear, and we hope this helps set the stage for more labor peace agreements in the future.”


About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields. @cwaunion

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