Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    The Battle Over Electric Vehicles: The Future of the Auto Industry Hangs in the Balance

    The ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers has shed light on a “once-in-a-century” technology shift that is shaping the future of the automobile industry: the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). According to veteran New York Times reporter Jack Ewing, this battle between the industry powers in Detroit and the UAW is not just about money but also about the union’s role in a world where gasoline-powered cars are becoming the minority.

    One of the key concerns for industry workers is that EVs have fewer parts than traditional gasoline models, which could render many jobs obsolete. Electric cars can be manufactured with fewer workers due to their simpler design. John Casesa, former head of strategy at Ford Motor, states that the transition to EVs is at the center of the discussion, positioning the union to have a central role in the new electric industry.

    Manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis are investing billions of dollars in this technological transformation. The magnitude of this shift is compared to Henry Ford’s moving assembly line at the start of the 20th century. However, despite the significant investments, car makers are struggling to generate profit from EVs. They argue that fulfilling the union’s demands could lead to bankruptcy. Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, emphasizes the need for a conversation about a sustainable future that does not force the company to choose between business survival and worker rewards.

    The union, on the other hand, is not likely to be sympathetic to the car makers’ financial difficulties. Karl Brauer, an executive analyst, suggests that the UAW will not have patience for sob stories. A positive outcome from the strike could give the union a stronger bargaining position, not just with traditional automakers like Tesla but also with nonunion carmakers, such as Hyundai, which plans to manufacture electric vehicles in a new factory in Georgia.

    As the auto industry navigates this critical technology shift, the future of the industry and the jobs it creates hangs in the balance. The battle over electric vehicles is not just about the present strike but also about positioning the industry for the future. The outcome will determine the direction the industry takes and the role of the union in an electrified automotive world.


    – Jack Ewing, The New York Times
    – John Casesa, former head of strategy at Ford Motor
    – Jim Farley, CEO of Ford
    – Karl Brauer, executive analyst at