LAS VEGAS — Brightline West, America’s first true high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, today, announced a landmark agreement, establishing a commitment with several craft rail unions for the use of highly skilled union labor in critical jobs required to operate and maintain this historic project. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition (Coalition) is comprised of 13 rail unions representing more than 160,000 freight, regional, commuter, and passenger railroad workers in the United States.
The MOU demonstrates the support of union labor in the development of the Brightline West system, and Brightline West’s commitment to providing the safest possible rail operations and high-quality working conditions for its employees.
“The High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition is proud to be in partnership with Brightline West in this historic project. Americans want high-speed rail, and Brightline West and the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition will deliver. Brightline West will be the most elegant travel by rail experience you can have in America, and it will be the catalyst for America’s renaissance of travel by high-speed rail. The High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition is ready to bring this transformative transportation project to Americans. Let’s get to work,” shared the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition in a statement.
Brightline West is a 218-mile system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California within the Interstate 15 right-of-way with train capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour. The $10 billion investment has widespread economic benefits, including the creation of nearly 35,000 jobs during construction and more than $10 billion in economic impact. 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.
“Our nation’s first high-speed rail system will be operated and maintained by union labor, a statement of the strength of the American workforce,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline Holdings. “As the most shovel-ready high-speed rail project in the United States, we are one step closer to leveling the playing field against transit and infrastructure projects around the world, and we are proud to be using America’s most skilled workers to get there.”
Brightline West includes stations near the iconic Las Vegas Strip and in Rancho Cucamonga, Apple Valley, and Hesperia, California. The system is expected to create over 1,000 permanent jobs once operational.
“As the nation’s largest transportation labor union federation, we are proud to support monumental projects like Brightline West, which will deliver a modern, efficient, and green transit system while putting skilled union members to work,” said Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.
The High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition members include the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED), Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Mechanical and Engineering Department (SMART-MD), National Conference of Firemen and Oilers 32BJ/SEIU (NCFO), Transportation Communications Union (TCU), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC), International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB), Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Department (SMART-TD), Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
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, Victor Valley, Hesperia, and Rancho Cucamonga, and connectivity to Metrolink’s regional rail network.