The Union of Auto Workers (UAW) has been trying to unionize electric vehicle production in the US for a while now. It first tried and failed with Nissan’s Smyrna factory, where they manufacture the Leaf, and they are now pursuing Tesla’s Fremont factory.
Now the UAW warns that electric vehicle revolution is going to result in job loses.
Jennifer Kelly, UAW’s research director, made the comment when discussing auto import issues emerging through the building trade war.
She said that the rise of electric vehicles could be dire for American jobs (via Transport Topics):
“The workers who are making engines and transmissions today, their jobs will be eliminated when we make a transition to electric vehicles. We’re looking at a considerable net job loss just in that technological transition.”
UAW is taking this stance just a month after the German automotive labor union released a study claiming that at least 75,000 jobs could be lost as the industry switches to electric vehicles.
It has been a trend with auto labor unions. Hyundai’s union head sees it. Earlier this year, Hyundai’s union head said that ‘electric cars are disasters and evil.’
The comment also comes as the UAW has been ramping up efforts to unionize Tesla’s Fremont factory, the largest electric vehicle factory in the US.
The union spent over $400,000 last year alone on its “Tesla Campaign”, according to their own filings.
Recently, they went on the offensive by backing an initiative that could lead to Tesla buyers losing access to California’s EV incentives.
On the other side, UAW claims that Tesla has been intervening to discourage workers to unionize. CEO Elon Musk suggested that Tesla could itself call for a union vote at the Fremont factory to disprove UAW.
Most industry people agree that electric vehicles have the potential for more labor efficient manufacturing, but that’s a real problem. It’s an opportunity.
It’s OK for unions to recognize the trend, but the solution is not for the government to act on it without any clear solution other than slow down electric vehicle production.
People need to see it as an opportunity to expand manufacturing capabilities with EV components like electric motors and batteries.
That’s why China is winning the EV revolution right now. They are encouraging both local EV sales and production. Of course, they are holding all the cards right now since they have the biggest market, but there are ways to improve.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.