Auto Union Holds Off On Endorsing Biden Due To Electric Vehicle Policies
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The United Auto Workers announced on Wednesday that the labor union would refrain from endorsing President Joe Biden over his electric vehicle policies.

Biden, who officially announced his 2024 campaign for the White House last week, has advanced a number of initiatives to increase the share of electric cars in the public and private sectors. The union, which is based in Detroit and has about 400,000 members, worries that the policies do not contain sufficient job security guarantees for their membership.

“The federal government is pouring billions into the electric vehicle transition, with no strings attached and no commitment to workers,” United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said in a memo seen by Reuters. “The EV transition is at serious risk of becoming a race to the bottom. We want to see national leadership have our back on this before we make any commitments.”

The outlet added that Fain met last week with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and various lawmakers. The union boss recently criticized Ultium Cells, a joint venture between automaker General Motors and battery manufacturer LG Energy Solutions, because workers at a new plant for the initiative in Ohio are currently earning less than $17 per hour, even as workers at a nearby former General Motors facility had earned more than $32 per hour.

Fain said that the union will be “ready to talk politics once we secure a future for this industry and the workers who make it run.” He asserted that a victory for former President Donald Trump “would be a disaster” but said members “need to see an alternative that delivers real results.”

Senior officials in the White House have nevertheless emphatically supported labor unions over the past two years. Biden recently touted the fact that unions were emphasized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, proclaiming that “union workers are going to transform America.”

The current lack of an endorsement from the United Auto Workers, however, is not the first time that major unions, which are usually supportive of Democrats, have denounced the commander-in-chief and his actions. Organizations such as the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen criticized the administration’s move to encourage the forced prevention of a railroad strike last year.

White House officials have suggested an increase in electric vehicle reliance as part of a broader renewable energy adoption push in the federal government. Biden vowed in a speech last year that his administration would “start the process where every vehicle in the United States military” would become “climate-friendly.” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm supported an effort last week that would transition the military to rely solely upon electric vehicles by 2030.


“I do think that reducing our reliance on the volatility of globally traded fossil fuels, where we know that global events such as the war in Ukraine can jack up prices for people back home does not contribute to energy security,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I think energy security is achieved when we have home-grown, clean energy that is abundant.”

Officials have pursued similar objectives in other federal agencies such as the Postal Service, which will acquire 66,000 electric vehicles by 2028, and established the overall goal of procuring only zero-emission light-duty vehicles for the federal fleet by 2027, a standard that will extend to all federal vehicles by 2035. The EPA recently proposed nationwide emissions rules that would aim to induce a 56% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions for light-duty vehicles, as well as a 44% decrease for medium-duty vehicles.

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