Advertisement

Auto Workers Increasingly Concerned About Losing Jobs Amid Biden’s EV Push

Advertisement

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The United Auto Workers president has endorsed President Joe Biden for reelection, in keeping with the union’s usual backing of left-wing Democratic candidates, but the rank-and-file members are far more concerned about one of Biden’s main initiatives: Pushing electric vehicles onto the market, which they believe could cost “thousands of jobs.”

As reported by The New York Times, a growing number of autoworkers represented by the UAW aren’t happy with the EV push backed by Biden and his administration because they require fewer workers to assemble and could be responsible for the loss of tens of thousands of jobs not just in manufacturing, but also in support services like insurance and trucking.

While Biden has prioritized union support in both his campaign and presidential policies, his push to ensure that half of all new car sales in the U.S. are electric by 2030 is in conflict with the heavily unionized auto industry.

“I was disappointed,” said Tiffanie Simmons, an autoworker at a Ford factory west of Detroit, Mich., told the Times regarding Biden’s EV push. “We trust you to make sure that Americans are employed.”

“It’s scary right now with the whole electric push,” Nelson Westrick, an autoworker at the Ford plant north of Detroit in Sterling Heights, Mich., told the Times. “This electric stuff is going to kill, just kill, thousands and thousands of jobs.”

Advertisement

In September 2023, Trump hosted a rally in Detroit, Michigan, addressing plumbers, electricians, and autoworkers, opting to skip the second GOP presidential debate. Additionally, in July, the former president released a campaign video soliciting an endorsement from the UAW, criticizing Biden’s backing of “green new deal” policies such as the transition to electric vehicles.

In the video, he argued that Biden’s EV push adversely impacted auto workers and is much more beneficial to China, which has cornered the market thus far in battery production.

Meanwhile, Biden is planning to ease off on his administration’s push to have Americans buy more electric vehicles (EVs) in order to win more union automaker support, according to a report published on Friday.

The New York Times also reported that the administration will relax restrictions placed on tailpipe emissions that were set to go into effect in order to facilitate more EV sales in an appeal to the automobile manufacturing industry and its unionized workers.

According to the Times, the proposed regulations offer automakers an extended timeline to transition to EVs, thanks to relaxed emissions standards. Instead of a few years, automakers would have until after 2030 to shift the majority of their production to EVs.

Under Biden’s guidance, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the current regulations last spring. Once fully implemented, the regulations would require automakers to sell a significant number of zero-emission vehicles within a short timeframe. The plan aims to achieve approximately 67 percent of new car sales being electric by 2032, a substantial increase from the current 7.6 percent.

Advertisement

Also, there is concern that, should Biden manage to win in November, he would immediately switch back to the current strict EV implementation schedule, thus alienating the very union membership he is now trying to court.

Biden’s strategy seems patently political, given a frank admission by UAW president Shawn Fain.

Just days after he said the organization was formally endorsing Biden’s reelection, he dropped a bombshell during a live Fox News interview about the preferred candidate for most members, appearing to suggest it will be Trump.

Test your skills with this Quiz!

After Fain fielded some questions about the slumping sales of electric vehicles and how that could affect the union labor force moving forward, host Neil Cavuto noted that in past decades, sizeable numbers of UAW members supported President Ronald Reagan and his successor, President George H. W. Bush, as well as other Republican presidents through the years.

Cavuto then went on to point out that many UAW members were supportive of Trump in 2016 and 2020 and remain supportive of him now before asking Fain how he felt about that.

“Look, it’s democracy in action,” the UAW boss began. “Let me be clear about this: A great majority of our members will not vote for President Biden. Yeah, some will, but that’s the reality of this. The majority of our members are gonna vote their paychecks. They’re gonna vote for an economy that works for them.”

Advertisement