Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Tuesday a resolution to a labor dispute that will keep rail car manufacturing jobs within Los Angeles County.

“Last month, the lines were drawn in the sand and we were going to see jobs that could be in L.A. County go somewhere else,” said Garcetti, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. “But because we brought both sides back to the table to grind out night and day negotiations with my office, L.A. County is going to see new middle-class jobs and an expansion of our manufacturing base.”

The agreement paves the way for Kinkisharyo International Inc. to expand its light rail car assembly and testing operations at its Palmdale facility, where 175 cars to be used on Metro’s Crenshaw, Exposition and Gold lines will now be manufactured.

Kinkisharyo has a 2012 contract with Metro to assemble and test 78 rail cars at its Palmdale site. The latest agreement calls for employing another 250 workers to make an additional 97 cars.

The pact with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 11, also includes a pledge to offer skills training and help for disadvantaged workers in the county.

The deal came after a month of day and night meetings between the two sides held at the mayor’s office. Garcetti took part in the negotiations both in person and over the phone.

Kinkisharyo General Manager Donald Boss called the resolution of disputes with IBEW Local 11 a “historic” occasion.

“These negotiations were not easy, but we are confident that as a result of our agreement with IBEW 11, we will continue to do what we do best — manufacture quality rail cars and deliver them on time and on budget,” Boss said.

Labor leaders praised the agreement, with Marvin Kropke, business manager of Local 11, saying the “settlement recognizes the value of good middle-class jobs in rail car manufacturing.”

“We will continue to advocate for healthier communities and good, green jobs in the Antelope Valley and throughout L.A. County,” he said.

City News Service

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