The post UAW Misses Opportunity to Stand Against Electric Vehicles appeared first on The Daily Signal.
United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain has been bragging about the contract he secured with auto companies and took credit for it in a U.S. Senate committee hearing on Tuesday. On Thursday, GM’s workers ratified the contract with 45% of the workforce voting against it. Some Ford and Stellantis workers in Kentucky and Ohio have also rejected the contract, citing concerns with pensions and health care benefits. They might also be concerned about losing their jobs to Chinese electric vehicle makers.
Fain said in his statement in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions: “We won things in this contract that our industry hasn’t seen in 15 years or more. We won victories that will instantly—overnight—change the lives of thousands of families across this country. Over time, it will transform communities, adding thousands of jobs and massively boosting the purchasing power of working-class families.”
Although the contracts will be ratified if a majority of union members vote for them, these “victories” are not universally apparent to auto workers.
I was a witness at the same hearing and testified that the UAW contract negotiations were a missed opportunity for the union to take a stand against President Joe Biden’s push to end sales of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
Through regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, Biden wants to replace the cars that people want to buy with electric vehicles—even though EVs are only 6% of vehicle sales now, are considerably more expensive, and can’t handle the same distances as their combustible-engine counterparts.
EV production will require 400,000 fewer auto workers in the long run than making gasoline-powered engines, according to Ford Motor Company president Jim Farley, because EVs have fewer parts and many of these are made in China.
The Biden administration’s electric vehicle mandate puts the economy at the mercy of government dictates in a planned economy that will destroy the livelihoods of unionized autoworkers, nonunionized workers, and small businesses alike without making car companies more competitive or solving climate change challenges. This will put our and our children’s future at the mercy of China.
If the UAW were truly helping its members and American families, it would have pushed for Detroit auto companies to continue to make the internal combustion engines and hybrids that Americans want to buy, rather than going all electric in 2035.
What would help all American working families is getting rid of the Biden EV mandate—which Biden did unilaterally and Congress did not pass. Instead, the UAW talks on its website about a “just transition” to electric vehicles.
This is even more surprising because last April, Fain attacked the push for electrification at one car company, saying, “Stellantis’ push to cut thousands of jobs while raking in billions in profits is disgusting. This is a slap in the face to our members, their families, their communities, and the American people who saved this company 15 years ago. Even now, politicians and taxpayers are bankrolling the electric vehicle transition, and this is the thanks the working class gets. Shame on Stellantis.”
It’s not “justice” to make cars that are so expensive that most Americans can’t afford to buy them. The electric version of the Ford F-150 pickup truck costs $26,000 more than the gasoline version. So, pushing costly electrification reduces overall safety, because Americans postpone purchasing newer, safer, cars and instead keep their older ones.
EVs can’t compare with their gas counterparts. An electric pickup truck loses battery range when it’s cold or when it has to tow another vehicle; and it takes an hour to recharge—and that’s if the “fast” charger works and no one is ahead in line. Plus, going electric offshores American jobs to China, including to slave labor factories in Xinjiang, because the Chinese make 80% of the world’s batteries.
The EV plan is poison for auto workers, small businesses such as plumbers and electricians, and auto repair shops and farmers who rely on gasoline-powered engines for pickup trucks and equipment.
Ford is losing almost $60,000 per EV sold, and unsold EVs are piling up on dealers’ lots. GM and Ford announced they are cutting back on projections of EV sales and lowering production targets for the cars and batteries and postponing over $15 billion in EV investment.
There will also be layoffs in auto parts companies, and among local mechanics who repair gasoline-powered cars.
Additionally, the public needs to understand that despite the rhetoric, electric vehicles are not emissions free. Increased electricity demand plus using less abundant and less reliable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar place additional stress on the electrical grid, as California has found out from rolling blackouts.
Electricity to charge EVs is made with natural gas and coal, because wind and solar powers only a small share of America’s electricity. And this makes no difference regarding climate change—even if America used no fossil fuels at all starting now, temperatures would be only two tenths of one degree Celsius cooler by 2100.
Union leaders act in their own interests, as can be seen by the simple focus on UAW member pay at the cost of future employment, the interests of members of other unions, small businesses, farmers, and families. While auto workers were on strike pay of $500 a week, union leaders were still collecting salaries, in some cases, over a quarter of a million dollars a year.
Government dictates and planning for the Soviet economy ruined the Soviet economy and will do the same for the American economy. The UAW had such a single-minded focus on getting more money for their members today that they forgot to even think about jobs tomorrow or how they would affect farmers, families, and other workers and unions. Some auto workers know that. That’s why some are voting against this deal.
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