Biden’s New Infrastructure Plan Poses Risk to Auto Jobs

workman manufacturing in a car factory.
gerenme / iStock.com

The $2 trillion American Jobs Plan unveiled by President Joe Biden last week includes plenty of perks for the auto industry, including $174 billion to boost the market for electric vehicles. Even so, concerns have been raised about the impact the plan might have on traditional U.S. auto jobs.

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As reported by NBC News on Friday, some auto industry experts believe the transition to EVs will lead to fewer manufacturing jobs because so much of the new technology uses automated production processes. A gas drivetrain, for example, requires a lot of manual labor to manufacture, whereas assembling batteries and battery packs is almost all done through automation.

EVs also require much less maintenance than gas-powered cars, which could lead to fewer auto repair and maintenance jobs.

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Rory Gamble, president of the United Auto Workers Union, said in a statement on the UAW website last week that auto workers “will disproportionately suffer” if the transition to a green economy isn’t done in the right way.

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“When it comes to the U.S. auto industry, the reality is that we have a long way to go in terms of battery technology, refueling infrastructure and, importantly, market demand in order to successfully make this transition to electric vehicles,” Gamble added. “We also need to ensure that this transition is stable, reliable and creates quality union wage jobs and flexible to market demand not relying on a one-size fits all solution[sic].”

Those concerns notwithstanding, many auto industry bigwigs seem to welcome the prospect of a beefed-up EV market — as long as the government pitches in financially. Two days before Biden unveiled the plan, major automakers, parts companies and UAW reps sent a letter to Biden urging him to support a comprehensive plan on EVs that includes significant government tax credits and other financial incentives, Reuters reported.

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      About the Author

      Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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