Two Republican senators made statements expressing their support for auto workers as they strike against major automakers over employment contracts.
The United Auto Workers, who have 146,000 members working at the Detroit Big Three — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — announced Thursday night a targeted strike at three plant locations, avoiding a total strike but noting that more plants could join as time goes on. Republican Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and J.D. Vance of Ohio both released statements on Twitter expressing support for the workers and criticizing President Joe Biden’s green agenda.
“Auto workers deserve a raise – and they deserve to have their jobs protected from Joe Biden’s stupid climate mandates that are destroying the US auto industry and making China rich,” Hawley said in a Twitter statement on Friday.
The Biden administration has committed billions in subsidies for the electric vehicle (EV) industry in an attempt to make 50% of all new car sales by 2030 electric, working toward his overall goal of the U.S. economy reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Autoworkers have expressed hesitancy about the president’s plan due to concerns that EV manufacturing could subtract from the union jobs that workers currently possess.
“Rooting for the auto workers across our country demanding higher wages and an end to political leadership’s green war on their industry,” Vance said in a Friday statement on Twitter. “Random fact: Ford loses about $32,000 on each EV they sell. These things, even with the subsidies, are massive cost centers for the American car industry. Think gas powered cars are expensive? That’s in part because you’re subsidizing Joe Biden’s donors.”
— UAW (@UAW) September 15, 2023
The union’s initial demands for automakers included a 40% wage increase over five years, which automakers say is really a 46% raise due to cumulative effects of year-over-year increases, according to Bloomberg. They also demanded a 32-hour work week, a return to traditional pensions and retiree health care plans and cost-of-living adjustments.
The UAW modified its wage demands to a 36% increase over five years, Bloomberg reported, but was still unable to reach a deal.
“Every dime the auto industry is spending on Joe Biden’s radical climate mandates should be spent on workers.” Hawley tweeted. “They deserve better wages, better hours, and a guarantee their jobs will be safe – not shipped off to China.”
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana criticized Biden over the strike, claiming that the president’s policies have encouraged workers to take action.
“This strike is the latest example of the folly of pursuing policy on the sake of ideology, as opposed to a clear understanding of the consequences of those decisions,” Cassidy said in a press release Friday. “Pushing to electric vehicles when the United States does not have the critical minerals, when it makes us vulnerable to Chinese supply chain, and when the UAW is now calling a strike, will endanger our economy. The parties must resolve their differences and bargain in good faith towards an agreement that benefits all. It is imperative the White House push for a quick resolution to avert deepening this crisis.”
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