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15 Sep 2023

Ben Lefebvre, Politico

USA: Environmental groups support UAW strike as critical to ensuring a just energy transition

"UAW strike could disrupt EV rollout. Environmentalists support it anyway." 15 Sept. 2023

Environmental groups are lining up on the side of the United Auto Workers against the Big Three — never mind any setbacks for their green energy agenda.

... “We firmly support the UAW members’ demands and believe that the success of these negotiations is of critical importance for the rights and well-being of workers and to safeguard people and the environment,” a group of 100 labor, racial justice and environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council said in an open letter to the heads of Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. “Only through meeting these demands will the United States ensure a just transition to a renewable energy future.”

... “We have to speed the transition away from fossil fuels,” [Greenpeace's Ben] Smith said. “So implementing this contract as a way to transition to EVs, where those workers see that there are good union jobs, is crucial. And so that’s why the UAW’s fight is our fight.”

... UAW President Shawn Fain has repeatedly said the union supports Biden’s electric vehicles push, and he has criticized automakers for closing plants and neglecting job security even as the companies expand production of new models of electric vehicles and opened battery plants.

“The UAW supports and is ready for the transition to a clean auto industry,” Fain said in a recent statement.

... Industry analysts have warned that a prolonged strike could seriously crimp EV output and even disrupt the post-pandemic economic recovery the United States has been experiencing. Mona Dajani, a lobbyist for Tesla — the leading U.S. EV maker and which doesn’t operate any plants employing unionized workers — sounded an alarm on the strike’s impact.