DISCUSSION: The future of electric vehicles and auto jobs

As the UAW-GM strike enters its second week with no agreement reached, some are wondering how the future of electric vehicles may affect auto jobs.

As the UAW-GM strike enters its second week with no agreement reached, some are wondering how the future of electric vehicles may affect auto jobs.

  • Jason Carr hosted a live discussion Tuesday morning. Watch above.

Here are the key points:

UAW-GM strike continues

  • The UAW-GM strike entered its second week Monday as negotiations continue between union leaders and the automaker.
    • Leaders of the United Auto Workers union decided to initiate the strike Sunday, Sept. 15 as contract negotiations went beyond a weekend deadline.
  • Nearly 50,000 workers at GM plants across the country are involved.
  • It’s the UAW’s first nationwide strike since 2007.
  • Workers have shut down 33 plants in nine states and 22 parts distribution warehouses.
  • Workers are on strike to secure:
    • Fair wages
    • Affordable healthcare
    • Their share of profits
    • Job security
    • A defined path to permanent seniority for temps
  • Read more: UAW-GM strike enters second week with no tentative agreement


Major questions left unanswered as GM's United Automobile Workers strike in Detroit [article]

  • GM CEO Mary Barra has promised an “all-electric future.”
    • The company plans to introduce 20 new, all-electric vehicle models by 2023.
  • The transition to electric vehicles poses the possibility of job loss in the auto industry.
    • Fewer parts go into making electric vehicles, which means fewer workers in factories.
    • Fewer workers will be needed to keep the vehicles running once sold, which means fewer profits for dealerships and their mechanics.


GM electric car push could mean fewer and lower paying jobs [article]

  • In contract talks, GM has offered to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Lordstown , Ohio, according to a source who spoke with the Associated Press.
    • GM ended production at a Lordstown plant earlier this year . The plant had over 1,400 workers at the time of the closure announcement.
    • The automaker announced in November that it would be close four US plants and another in Canada, along with cutting 8,000 US salaried and contract jobs.
  • The plant would be staffed by far fewer union workers who would be paid less than the $30 per hour that UAW members make on assembly lines, said the source.
  • Getting top pay at Lordstown is crucial for the union as battery jobs could one day supplant powertrain factory jobs.
  • Currently, fully electric vehicles make up about 1.5% of US new vehicle sales.
    • Electric vehicle sales aren’t expected to hit 50% of the market until at least 2049, according to forecasting firm LMC Automotive.


Amazon orders 100,000 electric vans from Plymouth auto company Rivian [article]

  • Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos last week announced that his company placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Plymouth-based auto tech company Rivian .
    • Prototypes of the van could hit the road this year.
  • The electric delivery van is a new, previously unannounced, vehicle for the company.
    • The company has two electric vehicles, and SUV and pickup truck, set for release in 2021.
    • In April, Ford announced it will use Rivian's technology to build an electric vehicle.
  • The fleet of vehicles could save about 4 million metric tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each year, Amazon said.
    • The vehicles are part of the company’s plan to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.
    • Amazon seeks to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
    • Bezos : If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon -- which delivers more than 10 billion items a year -- can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can. "

About the Authors:

Brian is an Associate Producer for ClickOnDetroit. He graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a degree in Journalism and Screen Studies.