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Tipsheet

Biden's Electric Vehicle Obsession Became a Major Roadblock in Auto Worker Negotiations

Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s obsession with electric vehicles has indirectly created a significant roadblock in the ongoing labor negotiations between United Auto Workers and America’s car manufacturers. We’re on the verge of an unprecedented work stoppage in Detroit that could cost billions. The contract is set to expire at 11:59 PM tonight. 

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It's not just that issue, but it’s one where automakers appear to be sticking to their guns. Union workers want a 40 percent pay increase, while car manufacturers like Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis wish to use their record profits to shore up electric vehicle production. The union has somewhat backed off on that demand, now asking for something in the mid-30s regarding salary increases. 

Some new EV models are expected to be rolled out soon—a labor strike could torpedo the rollout. Another issue is that auto workers feel abandoned by Joe Biden and the Democrats. And while they’re supportive of clean energy, they’re opposed to how the Biden administration has executed this part of their agenda (via Daily Caller): 

Biden’s attempts to transition to EVs has been an issue of concern for the 150,000-member union who are preparing for a strike against major U.S. automakers. The UAW has been in negotiations with Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, and has threatened to strike if an agreement for a new contract is not reached by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. EST, Politico reports. 

Biden is not directly involved in the negotiations and is optimistic that a strike will be averted. However, the labor dispute is politically perilous for Biden and his “Union Joe,” persona. Biden has said he is the “most pro-union president in history,” but his pledge to transition to clean energy may test his relations with unions, according to The Washington Post. 

[…] 

“UAW members feel abandoned by the Democratic Party,” former UAW President Bob King said in an interview with Politico. “I think there’s a segment of the Democratic Party that sees itself as serving corporations rather than the common good. … We’ve had a lot of disappointments.” 

[…]

The UAW said it “supports the transition to a clean auto industry,” but disapproves of the Biden administration issuing multi-billion dollar loans for clean energy “with no consideration for wages, working conditions, union rights or retirement security,” which includes $9.2 billion granted to Ford for plans to build battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky, according to Politico. 

[…] 

The union initially sought a 40% hourly wage increase over the span of four years and a 32-hour work week. Recent proposals have lowered the hourly wage increase to a mid-30% increase…

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Avoiding a strike is the top priority, but some of its roots appear to be that Biden and the Democrats have shifted away from the needs of working people. They also don’t know any, as most of the Democratic Party base comprises coastal elites, tech billionaires, and wealthy college-educated whites. Non-white Democrats, a party's backbone, have their needs supplanted by those who cut the big checks. 

Obama won a sizable chunk of rural, white working-class voters in 2008 and 2012. Can Biden do that as high inflation cannibalizes home budgets and Bidenomics falls flat with voters? Probably not.

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