UAW Withholds Re-Election Endorsement for Biden Until EV Industry Concerns are Addressed

UAW Withholds Re-Election Endorsement for Biden Until EV Industry Concerns are Addressed

The United Auto Workers (UAW) has not yet decided whether to endorse President Joe Biden for re-election until their concerns about the auto industry’s transition to all-electric vehicles (EVs) are addressed. According to a letter sent by UAW President Shawn Fain to union staff, the UAW is seeking a “just transition” for workers, which is currently not happening as automakers invest billions of dollars, with the support of taxpayer money, to move from traditional vehicles to EVs.

UAW’s Concerns Over Job Losses Due to EVs

The UAW has been concerned about how traditional auto workers can transition into new jobs for EVs for several years. A 2018 study by the union found that mass adoption of EVs could cost the UAW 35,000 jobs; however, the union has more recently said that number could be lower.

UAW’s Political Stance

The UAW has historically supported Democrats, and Fain said in the Tuesday letter that “another Donald Trump presidency would be a disaster,” citing the need for the union to “get our members organized behind a pro-worker, pro-climate, and pro-democracy political program that can deliver for the working class.” Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond for comment.

UAW’s Issues with Detroit Automakers

Fain’s letter singles out the Detroit automakers for recent announcements surrounding plant closures and idling related to EVs turn workers’ lives “upside down.” Most notably, Stellantis earlier this year idled a Jeep plant in Illinois citing the need to cut costs to invest in EVs. Fain also noted the pay rate at a recently opened Ultium Cells LLC battery plant near Lordstown, Ohio – a joint venture battery plant between General Motors and LG Energy Solution – compared to that of traditional automotive assembly plants.

Ultium has said hourly workers currently make between $16 and $22 an hour with full benefits, incentives and tuition assistance. That compares to traditional hourly UAW members that can make upward of $32 an hour at GM plants. Joint venture battery facilities are viewed as crucial for the UAW to grow and add members, as automakers such as GM transition to electric vehicles, which require less traditional labor and parts than cars with internal combustion engines.


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