On August 9th, I had the honor of attending the White House signing ceremony for the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. The new law signed by President Biden invests $52 billion to bolster U.S. semiconductor production with two billion being prioritized for vehicle, defense, and parts manufacturing. It also puts us in a position to ensure we have the resources needed to advance scientific research which are essential to creating the jobs of the future in the United States and improving our quality of life.
Semiconductors are a critical component of products that run on electricity. The UAW began sounding the alarm about the ongoing shortage of auto-grade semiconductors before the Biden Administration as no auto-grade chips are currently made in the USA. It did not have to be this way; semiconductors used to be created in the United States. Our manufacturing footprint is a third of what it was a few decades ago. The severity of the shortage is, in many ways, a self-inflicted wound as the United States has failed to secure adequate semiconductor production. It is an example of what happens when our country fails to invest in U.S. manufacturing and workers. To this day, the shortage of auto-grade semiconductors continues to hamper workers, including UAW members who build cars, trucks, and construction and farming equipment that our nation relies upon. IHS Markit Automotive reported that last year alone, 1.5 million cars were not built due to the semiconductor shortage.
I along with other leaders, rank and file members and staff have participated in public events to highlight the real-world impact from the chip shortage and advocate for legislation to help prevent future crises and regain market share. We worked hand in hand with vehicle and parts manufacturers to pass the legislation and met with elected leaders and federal agencies to address the crisis as UAW members throughout the country were forced to work reduced hours while others were laid off as new cars and trucks were unable to go to market.
The CHIPS and Science Act will help ensure we are never faced with a severe semiconductor shortage while being completely reliant on semiconductor chips manufactured abroad. The law is a turning point for our country and will mark a moment that produced a favorable shift for UAW members. It is also an acknowledgment we must pay closer attention to supply chain vulnerabilities and do everything in our power to build the goods we need in America. In the weeks, months, and years ahead, we look forward to working with Congress and the Biden Administration to ensure that U.S. supply chains become more resilient and competitive globally.
Photo: East Face, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. by Ken Lund, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
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