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Auto workers in Michigan are preparing to go on strike for higher wages at three major U.S. carmakers as the United Auto Workers (UAW) union criticizes President Joe Biden’s handouts for the electric vehicle industry.
The UAW says workers at General Motors, Ford, and Stellanits deserve a pay raise of 36%, and unless the union can come to an agreement with the automakers by midnight Thursday, the auto workers will go on strike. Not all of the UAW’s criticisms are directed at Detroit’s three major automakers; the union is also upset with the Biden administration and the Democratic Party for its subsidies to the electric vehicle industry, warning that the rush to push EVs is overlooking the security and protection of the American auto worker.
“UAW members feel abandoned by the Democratic Party,” former UAW President Bob King told POLITICO in an interview, saying that Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act has failed to benefit union workers. “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.”
POLITICO reported that most of the energy investments made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act are flowing away from Michigan and to more Republican-led states, such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. The UAW is also concerned that it will lose members when motor companies invest even more into EVs as EVs usually have fewer parts than gas-powered cars.
The UAW is withholding an endorsement of Biden as it waits to hear back from the administration. UAW President Shawn Fain demanded the Biden administration give the UAW assurances that union workers will be protected as the federal government pushes for higher EV production. Biden, who describes himself as the “most pro-union president” in history, received the endorsement of the UAW in 2020 as the union typically backs any candidate with a “D” next to their name, but the UAW president said Biden has some more to prove before he gets an endorsement for 2024.
“Actions are going to dictate endorsements, so we’ll see how things continue to play out, and we have a lot of issues to resolve,” Fain told CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier this week. “There’s a lot with the EV transition that has to happen, and there’s hundreds of billions of our taxpayer dollars that are helping fund this, and workers cannot continue to be left behind in that equation.”
Ever since taking over in the White House in 2021, Biden has strongly pushed for the U.S. to ramp up electric vehicle production in the name of green energy. The White House is investing in the car industry with the hopes of getting EV sales to make up half of all new vehicle sales by 2030, subsidizing American car companies to help the administration reach its goal.
Earlier this year, Ford received the largest government check for an automaker since the 2009 bailouts thanks to a $9.2 billion loan intended to help construct three electric vehicle battery plants in the U.S. The Biden administration and Motor Company continue to push EVs even as Ford said it expects to lose $4.5 billion from its EV division this year.