Tag Archive for: EPA

The UAW has a strong commitment to protecting the environment and fully supports efforts to create a cleaner domestic auto industry. The climate crisis has taken a heavy toll on working people, who have had to endure the consequences of corporate America’s decisions to put profits before a clean environment and a fair economy. That needs to change. The UAW is proudly leading the fight for a just transition so the shift to electric vehicles truly benefits workers and the environment, not just the auto industry and Wall Street.   

The EPA has made significant progress on its final greenhouse gas emissions rule for light-duty vehicles. By taking seriously the concerns of workers and communities, the EPA has created a more feasible emissions rule that protects workers building ICE vehicles, while providing a path forward for automakers to implement the full range of automotive technologies to reduce emissions. This rule does not require Ford, General Motors, Stellantis or any other domestic automaker to do anything beyond the commitments they’ve made to shareholders to capitalize on the growing EV market. We reject the fearmongering that says tackling the climate crisis must come at the cost of union jobs. Ambitious and achievable regulations can support both. We call on the Biden Administration to hold automakers accountable so that this rule is not used as an excuse to cut or offshore jobs.  

The billionaire class and their allies in government expect workers to bear the brunt of the crisis. When it comes to the EV transition, corporations see an opportunity to collect taxpayer subsidies, increase profits, lower job quality and leave workers behind. Reaching our climate goals requires massive public investments. Government subsidies must create quality union jobs by including strong labor standards that require employers to meet or exceed industry standards, protect workers’ right to organize, and invest in communities impacted by the transition.    

This moment calls for a whole of government approach to ensure the next generation of vehicles are made in the United States and the auto industry supports quality union jobs for American workers. This transition should be a clear victory for working people, not another reason to look over our shoulder, wondering when our plants will close or our jobs will be cut. From trade policy to new legislation to environmental regulation to clean energy implementation, all policies must point in the same direction toward a just transition for autoworkers.   

The transition to cleaner technologies cannot be used to intensify the global race to the bottom through offshoring and low wages. We need to see movement by the administration to protect these jobs. The nascent EV industry needs tariff protections – otherwise we are going to be awash in imports.  The stakes of the transition are high for American workers. We will continue to work with the Administration and fight to get these policies right for American autoworkers.   

UAW members are doing our part by fighting for and winning important Just Transition provisions through bargaining and organizing at new EV and battery plants across the country. UAW members at the Big Three used their power to win critical investment commitments, job security provisions, and job quality standards to ensure workers are not left behind in the transition to cleaner vehicles. And just this week, over 4,000 workers building ICEVs and BEVs at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn., announced they are standing up and filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a vote to join the UAW. But UAW members should not have to shoulder the burden of a just transition on our own. We need policymakers who will support these efforts, from the halls of Congress to the picket line.  

Photo by Sarah Joseph

On Saturday, Earth Day, tens of thousands of people participated in the March for Science at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and numerous other cities across the U.S.  Among the participants in Washington were hundreds of UAW members who rallied behind the mission of the event and spent the day celebrating science.

Local 2110 at the March for Science
Photo by Catherine Braine

The passionate crowd gathered to generate a conversation about the alarming trend toward discrediting facts and scientific consensus, and restricting scientific discovery.

Sarah Joseph, a UAW Local 2110 member from the Department of Genetics at Columbia University, had a very personal reason for participating in the March for Science.  “I march because without science I would not have been born.  I was conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilization), and I march because without science many of my family members would not be alive today.

“I am participating to raise awareness for science and to dispel the misconception that there is such a thing as ‘your’ facts.  Facts are facts.  It is the interpretation of facts that is up for debate,” said Joseph.

The March for Science champions and defends science and scientific integrity, but it is a small step in the process toward encouraging the application of science in policy.  March for Science organizers and participants say the best way to ensure science will influence policy is to encourage people to appreciate and engage with science. That can only happen through education, communication and ties of mutual respect between scientists and their communities — the paths of communication must go both ways. There has too long been a divide between the scientific community, the public and the politicians who represent them.

Local 2110 poses at March for Science
  Photo by Catherine Braine

“I’m marching because I think it’s immoral for politicians to deny the basic fact of climate change when they have the chance to change that,” said Catherine Braine, a UAW Local 2110 member from the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University.

“I am also a graduate student whose research is funded by NIH (National Institutes of Health), the organization the Trump budget wants to cut by 20 percent,” Braine added.  “It’s important for everyone to be involved because everyone should push for policies that acknowledge objective reality and seek to be responsible guardians of the Earth.”

As debates continue in Washington over funding of science, Saturday’s event sent a very clear message to politicians: Back up your reasons for doubting scientific evidence and, more important, back off science funding!