BYD held a press conference on Friday to correct “misinformation” the company says is currently being spread by the news media and on the Internet about its labor practices and the integrity of their electric bus product.
“We believe [these facts] are beyond factual dispute and are capable of being substantiated by documents, which they will be,” said Attorney Lanny Davis, who served as a spokesperson for BYD.
Specifically, Davis addressed the $99,000 in citations for labor practices regarding five Chinese nationals and its recently opened plant in Lancaster, Calif. Several media outlets reported that BYD was paying these Chinese nationals $1.50 an hour plus a $50-per-day allowance for food and other expenses.
“That news is utterly false, totally baseless, and I suggest, either made up by somebody or a misunderstanding,” said Davis. “These five professionals were paid in amounts ranging between $12 an hour to $16 an hour. Those numbers will be substantiated down to the penny.”
Davis, who was joined by Mike Antonovich, supervisor, Los Angeles County Fifth District; Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris; Richard Hunt, GM, transit capital programs; and others, also added BYD is creating American jobs and not taking jobs away from Americans by importing Chinese workers.
To date, Davis said between its Los Angeles administrative offices and its Lancaster plant, BYD has already created 35 jobs and projections show that number will hit 100 by the end of 2014 and 200 by the end of 2015, in addition to the jobs being created at its more than 20 California vendors.
Finally, Davis said BYD’s buses are in compliance with Buy America rules and that Altoona Testing has not revealed “anything that compromises the safety and performance of this bus.”
He also disputed a recent report that Long Beach Transit’s 10-bus order will be delayed because the vehicle currently being Altoona tested is different than the production unit that will ultimately be delivered to the agency and ensured BYD's batteries are "completely safe."