Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    The United Auto Workers’ Strike Could Impact the Production and Delivery of Electric Vehicles

    The ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis has entered its fourth day with no resolution in sight. The strike comes at a critical time as all three automakers are investing heavily in retooling their factories to produce electric vehicles (EVs). The delay in reaching a deal could potentially disrupt the production and delivery of current and future EV models, leading to higher prices for consumers.

    The strike began with nearly 13,000 workers picketing at specific factories after failing to reach a deal by the UAW’s initial deadline. UAW president Shawn Fain has now set a new deadline for September 22. The union is employing a “stand up strike” strategy, targeting specific factories rather than striking all 150,000 members at once.

    The shift towards electric vehicles is at the center of the dispute. EVs require fewer parts and fewer workers to assemble, which raises concerns among union members about job security and working conditions. Traditional automakers are investing significant resources in electrifying their production lines to compete with Tesla, which already produces EVs via its non-unionized workforce.

    Analysts warn that a prolonged strike could lead to production delays and the postponement of EV rollouts. If the strike lasts for more than four weeks, production timelines and EV roadmaps could be pushed out to 2024, significantly benefiting Tesla in the short term. Ford, Stellantis, and GM are already facing challenges in bringing their EVs to market due to various issues such as battery fires, production pauses, and slow battery factory production.

    The UAW’s key demands include a 36% pay increase, a reduced 32-hour workweek, traditional pensions, the elimination of compensation tiers, and the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments. Meeting these demands could result in billions of dollars in additional costs for the automakers, eventually leading to an increase in EV prices for consumers.

    While some argue that meeting union demands would not cripple the automakers, pointing out that labor costs are a small part of EV production, executives from Ford and GM claim that excessive pay increases would hinder their ability to continue developing both combustion engine vehicles and EVs. The large pay gaps between executives and workers have further fueled support for the strike among union members.


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