Striking rank-and-file members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) criticized electric vehicles (EVs) and the Biden administration’s push to massively increase their presence on America’s roads, according to E&E News.
Several interviewed union members appear less-than-satisfied with the prospect of manufacturing EVs or driving one themselves, according to E&E News. EV production stands at the center of the UAW’s grievances with the “Big Three” automakers and the Biden administration, as the union is concerned that an unmitigated push toward their adoption could disadvantage its workers in the long-term.
Many of the interviewed auto workers said that they are not only concerned that EVs might kill jobs, but also expressed that they have little personal interest in buying one because of concerns regarding their range, charging reliability and their higher sticker price, according to E&E News. (RELATED: Biden’s Plan To Force Americans Into EVs Is Under Fire From All Sides)
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“[EVs] don’t need spark plugs, what else, oil filters, we sell a lot of those,” Whitney Walch, a worker at Stellantis’ Portland Parts Distribution Center in Beaverton, Oregon, told E&E News. “If we don’t have all those parts, I feel like we don’t have a lot to do.”
“I think EVs are going to wipe us out,” she told E&E News.
The administration is aiming to have EVs comprise 50% of all new car sales by 2030. Notably, President Joe Biden, who has a strong affinity for organized labor, visited the picket lines of the striking workers on Tuesday to stand in solidarity with them, despite the connection of his own policies to some of their grievances with management.
“I’m good with the regular 87 unleaded,” DeJhon Moore, who works as an operator at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, told E&E News. “I don’t trust [EVs] to drive long distances, I’d rather just do the regular, go get some fuel and go about my day.”
The Biden administration has committed billions to build out EV charging infrastructure, subsidize EV supply chains and to provide tax credits to consumers who make the switch to EVs, all in order to curb emissions in the administration’s whole-of-government approach to countering climate change. A bevy of regulations that would restrict future production of internal combustion engine vehicles complement the administration’s subsidies, including aggressive proposals from agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Concerns about EVs seem to persist among members, even after the administration attempted earlier in the summer to placate the union’s leadership by setting pro-labor guidelines for a $15 billion package for manufacturers to retrofit their plants to handle the mass-production of EVs.
“I’m not a fan, I don’t like them. I don’t want one,” Keith Sandberg, a warehouse laborer and UAW member, told E&E News. “With the infrastructure, we’re not set up for EVs. We have nothing concrete, really, in place for EV drivers.”
Neither the White House nor the UAW responded immediately to requests for comment.
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