The Democrats’ obsession with green issues helped spark the biggest strike the US auto workers have undertaken in years. The Biden administration’s goal of half of all new cars sold being electric vehicles (EV’s) by 2030 is part of the problem.
The staged walkouts by some 13,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) union members at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — which makes the Chrysler and Dodge brands — is nearing the seven-day mark.
Auto expert Lauren Fix, an analyst and consultant at Car Coach Reports; Dr. Linwood Tauheed, a professor of economics and director of the Center for Economic Information; and Dan Kovalik, a human and labor rights lawyer and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, discussed the causes of the strike hitting the big three US auto manufacturers.
The union, led by UAW President Shawn Fain, is demanding a 40% pay deal over a span of four years, along with a move to a four-day working week. Ford and GM have offered 20% over the same time-frame and Stellantis 17.5%.
European manufacturers were already facing stiff competition from firms in China and other far-east countries who have taken a generational lead on EV technology.
They’re just dumping these cars and it’s impacting the German manufacturers. And we’re going to start seeing that here as well if China started selling their cars, Fix warned.
We now have Vietnam selling cars here with Vinfast. They’re going to build a plant in Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina. You’re going to start seeing a lot of cars coming in this country that are non-union cars.
Even in California, the leading US state for EV’s where 18% of the cars on the road are electric, there is only around one public charging station for every 10,000 EV’s registered in the state.
Economist Dr. Linwood Tauheed pointed out to Sputnik the inherent contradiction in Neo-liberal economics of wanting to decrease wages while also increasing profitability and increasing the cost of living.
The academic noted the profits of the three big US auto firms had risen by 92% in the 10 years to 2022, and they are expecting combined profits of $32 billion in 2023. But they continue to argue that raising wages would put them out of business.
CEO pay in that same 10-year period is up 40%, while worker pay is not up at all, not even with a cost of living increase, which the workers conceded in the 2008 crisis.
He linked the economic crisis caused by sanctions on Russia — in support of NATO’s proxy conflict in Ukraine — with attacks on workers’ living standards across the West.
Labor lawyer Dan Kovalik told Sputnik the UAW’s 40% wage claim was pretty reasonable after years of belt-tightening.
Former US President Donald Trump has seized on the crisis to appeal to the auto workers and other frequent voters in crucial Midwestern swing states.
Kovalik said Trump had probably the worst labor board than we’ve ever had in US history, but admitted that he was cutting into the Democrats’ working-class base.
US President Joe Biden, by contrast, has avoided the picket lines in the strike that could cost the economy $5 billion if it goes on for more than a week.
Biden is seeking reelection next year. And so he’s afraid, I suspect that he’s afraid if he looks too favorable to the strike in the strike does hurt the economy, that it’s going to come back on him.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.