HomePoliticsBiden addresses UAW concerns during electric vehicle transition

Biden addresses UAW concerns during electric vehicle transition

President Joe Biden dipped a toe into contract talks between automakers and the UAW on Monday, reaffirming his support for electric vehicle jobs as a path to the middle class while urging companies to address union concerns about the transition. to take.

“I support a fair transition to a clean energy future,” Biden said in a statement just one month before United Auto Workers’ contract with the Detroit automakers expires on Sept. 14.

He went on to list things that are key union priorities, including respecting the right to organize unions, providing jobs “that can support a family” and making sure industry transitions are “fair and focused on redesign, relaunch and rehire in the same factories and communities at comparable wages, while giving existing workers the first opportunity to fill those jobs.”

The talks strike a delicate balance for Biden and the Democrats between their priorities to transition the nation to electric vehicles and seeking support from the UAW, which has expressed concern over a range of economic concerns, including federally funded work that is expected to fail. union battery factories.

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The union has yet to issue a presidential endorsement, despite an outpouring of other labor support for Biden.

A senior government official told POLITICO last week that the UAW does not expect Biden to discuss specific demands, but that the union would like to see the president’s support for their perspective in the transition to a clean energy economy.

“Companies should use this process to ensure they hire their employees in the next chapter of the industry by offering them high-paying jobs and a say in the future of their workplace,” Biden said in his statement, referring to the transition from fossil fuels. fuels.

The UAW’s economic demands, made public this month, specifically call for protections in the event of plant closures, as well as large wage increases.

The union has also said it wants workers in jointly owned battery factories, crucial in the transition to electric vehicles, to be raised to similar wage and safety standards to unionized workers. A recent letter from Senate Democrats suggested that the automakers include those facilities in national contracts; the UAW has not explicitly stated this requirement.

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