The United Auto Workers (UAW) union, which is preparing for a possible strike, is also opposing a clean energy transition. The union has aligned itself with automakers in resisting the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) despite its own environmentalist roots and knowledge that an electric future is inevitable. Automakers like Tesla have lobbied for exceptions to state dealer franchise laws to sell EVs directly to consumers, arguing that they are different from gasoline-powered cars. Now, American automakers are adopting the same strategy to sell their EVs and change their relationships with dealers and the UAW. The union’s reluctance to endorse President Joe Biden’s re-election bid is also related to clean energy. Biden’s administration recently announced a loan guarantee to Ford to build a battery plant in Tennessee, but the loan contains no requirement for union involvement. The UAW is concerned that automakers will use joint ventures and electrification to bypass the union and hire non-union workers. The union claims that its opposition is to the non-union aspect rather than the technology itself. However, this stance contradicts the UAW’s history of supporting environmental causes and its past leader’s efforts to curb pollution. The union’s opposition to proposed vehicle emissions regulations that would require EVs for two-thirds of new vehicles by 2032 also aligns with the industry’s perspective that stricter rules will lead to job losses. Ultimately, the UAW’s current stance supports the industry’s anti-green agenda and undermines its own principles.
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