How Joe Manchin worsened Biden's tensions with the UAW

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) rides an elevator after leaving the Senate floor amid ongoing talks over government funding, as the threat of an October government shutdown looms on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on September 6.

Last year, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin forced Senate leadership to scrap a measure in Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act that would have given cars built by unionized autoworkers a massive boost in the market.

When the House passed its version of the legislation in 2021, it included an extra $4,500 tax credit for consumers who purchase union-made American EVs, which are, as of this moment, only built by the unionized workers at the Big Three of Ford, GM, and Stellantis. The provision had drawn criticism from Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen, which build EVs in non-union factories.

To win Manchin's support for the IRA the Senate, Democrats deleted the extra incentives for union-made cars.

The IRA passed with Manchin's vote and was signed into law by President Joe Biden. It included a $7,500 credit for consumers purchasing EVs, whether they were union-built or not.

But the transition to EVs has been a sticking point in talks between UAW and Detroit's Big Three automakers. The UAW has withheld its endorsement of Biden for his re-election bid in part to pressure his administration to ensure a "just transition" for workers in the shift to EVs.

As Americans buy more and more EVs, automakers have been rushing to build enormous battery factories, largely in the more anti-union South.

At the same time, the union fears what will happen to the thousands of unionized workers employed at engine and transmission plants, which only build components for cars with internal combustion engines.

From the union's perspective, the automakers are using the EV transition as an excuse to replace union labor at the engine plants with non-union labor at the battery plants, and an extra incentive for consumers to buy union-made cars would have helped the workers' cause and help put more money in more workers' pockets, instead of going to corporate executives.

This shift to EVs would have been easier for union workers with the extra incentives that Manchin torpedoed.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.