Auto union withholds support for Biden, citing electric vehicles
He said he and other leaders recently met with Biden administration officials to push their case.
“We were very adamant that if the government is going to funnel billions in taxpayer money to these companies, the workers must be compensated with top wages and benefits,” he said. “A ‘just transition’ has to include standards for our members and future workers.”
The Biden campaign did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
UAW endorsed Biden in the 2020 race, citing his historic support for labor. The union has more than 400,000 active members in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, according to its website.
The union’s threat exposes a rift between two key Democratic constituencies.
Biden, who considers himself a “car guy,” has made electrifying cars a major piece of his climate change agenda. He’s set a goal of 50 percent of new car sales being electric by 2030, and EPA proposed a regulation last month that could even exceed that goal.
But while organized labor has generally endorsed electrification, unions have been uneasy about what the transition could mean for workers. With simpler drivetrains and the need for plants to retool, the EV push has already led to big job changes.
“Right now, we’re focused on making sure the EV transition does right by our members, our families and our communities,” Fain wrote. “We’ll be ready to talk politics once we secure a future for this industry and the workers who make it run.”
But Fain ruled out backing former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, saying another Trump term “would be a disaster.”
“We need to get our members organized behind a pro-worker, pro-climate, and pro-democracy political program that can deliver for the working class.”
A version of this report first ran in E&E News PM. Get access to more comprehensive and in-depth reporting on the energy transition, natural resources, climate change and more in E&E News.