AMAC Exclusive – By Neil Banerji
The United Auto Workers Union (UAW) strike deepened again this week as thousands of employees at Volvo-owned Mack Truck plants in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Maryland joined General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis workers on the picket line. While President Joe Biden has publicly expressed support for the strikers, it is becoming more obvious by the day that his own policies are largely to blame for the labor dispute.
Despite billing himself as the “most pro-union” president in American history, Biden’s policies, and in particular his electric vehicle mandate, would be a disaster for union auto workers – something which has significantly heightened tensions between workers and car companies.
According to a new rule proposed by the White House earlier this year, all-electric vehicles will have to make up at least two-thirds of all new car sales by 2023. Given that just 5.8 percent of new vehicles sold in 2022 were all-electric, this policy would be one of the most aggressive government interventions in any sector of the economy in American history.
The new rule is predicted to cost automakers big time. Ford alone says it expects to lose $4.5 billion to comply with the policy.
But those hardest hit by Biden’s EV mandate will be the workers currently on strike. In addition to requiring fewer laborers to produce, EVs also don’t require as much regular maintenance, potentially impacting tens of thousands of auto mechanics throughout the country. The America First Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, has estimated that the rule will lead to a net loss of 117,000 auto jobs. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler have already started laying off hundreds of workers.
Despite the fact that Biden’s EV mandate is destroying their workforce and their business model, however, most carmakers have astonishingly embraced the policy. Like the rest of corporate America, the c-suites at Ford, General Motors, and other manufacturers have fully bought in to the left’s mission to “reimagine” America – even if it leads their companies to ruin.
UAW President Shawn Fein has also embraced Biden’s radical environmental agenda, stating earlier this year that the union “supports and is ready for the transition to a clean auto industry.”
In other words, it seems that union leadership, car manufacturers, and the Biden administration are all behind the EV mandate that will cost tens of thousands of UAW workers their jobs in the near future. Yet when Biden visited striking workers in Michigan last month, he claimed to be on their side. “Stick with it,” the president told the workers, even as he continued to push policies directly counter to their interests.
While Biden attempted to display solidarity with the striking workers, the context of his visit – hastily planned on the heels of a major speech by Donald Trump a day later – was more indicative of a president terrified of losing a vital base of support.
Historically, the large union vote in Michigan has been a rock-solid base of support for Democrats in the state. Trump’s victory there in 2016 shocked the political pundit class and signaled the beginning of an ongoing demographic shift that has many Democrats worried that Michigan could become more competitive in upcoming cycles.
Notably, the UAW refused to endorse Biden earlier this year even though it has almost always supported Democrat nominees in the past. During his speech in Michigan, Trump publicly called on Fein to endorse him, promising workers that he would end Biden’s EV mandate and secure their jobs.
“I want a future that protects American labor, not foreign labor, a future that puts American dreams over foreign profits, and a future that raises American wages, that strengthens American industry, that builds national pride, and that defends this country’s dignity,” Trump said. “Biden’s cruel and ridiculous electric vehicle mandates will spell the death of the U.S. auto industry.”
Trump also accused Biden of pandering to UAW workers in a Truth Social post shortly after Biden announced his visit to Michigan. “Crooked Joe Biden had no intention of going to visit the United Autoworkers, until I announced that I would be heading to Michigan to be with them, & help them out,” Trump wrote. “Actually, Crooked Joe sold them down the river with his ridiculous all Electric Car Hoax. This wasn’t Biden’s idea, he can’t put two sentences together. It was the idea of the Radical Left Fascists, Marxists, & Communists who control him and who, in so doing, are DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY!”
As has been the case many other times, Biden’s rhetoric continues to belie his political decision-making. While he will likely try to buttress the shaky ground upon which his disorganized coalition stands in preparation for 2024, the UAW strike is yet another sign that the cracks are already appearing from within and that the tide may be turning in favor of the GOP among key Democrat constituencies.
Neil Banerji is a proud Las Vegas resident and former student at the University of Oxford. In his spare time, he enjoys reading Winston Churchill and Edmund Burke.