The BlueGreen Alliance today hosted EVs Are Coming: Strengthening Auto Manufacturing and Building Good Jobs in the Shift to Electric Vehicles, a discussion on the urgent policies and commitments needed to ensure that economic and employment benefits that will accompany the transition to EVs accrue to workers here. The event featured speakers and panelists intimately involved with our nation’s electric vehicle revolution, including Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Brian Deese of the National Economic Council, Youngstown, Ohio Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, U.S. Department of Labor Chief Economist Janelle Jones, as well as representatives from the United Autoworkers, AFL-CIO, The Greenlining Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the BlueGreen Alliance.
Speakers at the event underscored the need to pass strong manufacturing policies—like those Congress has on the table now as part of the Build Back Better reconciliation package—which will be paramount to ensure that we safeguard and grow jobs and manufacturing capacity in the coming shift to EVs.
The event followed the unveiling of the report, The Stakes for Workers in How Policymakers Manage the Coming Shift to All-Electric Vehicles, released by the Economic Policy Institute. The report details the ways in which the electric vehicle transition will affect workers building current and next generation vehicles and the needed policies to protect their livelihoods, while successfully expanding access to electric vehicles across the country.
According to the report, “if the shift to BEVs [battery electric vehicles] is accompanied by strategic investments in manufacturing and job quality in the U.S. auto sector then the number and quality of jobs can rise together with BEV production.”
“UAW stands ready and willing to fight for our members and equitable auto manufacturing across the country,” said United Autoworkers Legislative Director Josh Nassar. “We must make sure that workers are centered first and foremost as we begin to significantly increase the manufacturing and footprint of electric vehicles in the United States.”
“For my own family, and thousands of others in the Midwest, manufacturing has been a pathway to the middle class,” said U.S. Department of Labor Chief Economist Janelle Jones. “Manufacturing is crucial to the overall economic project of building back better and creating a more inclusive and green economy.”
“The data lays out a clear path towards equitable economic security for the thousands of workers who will be affected by the electric vehicle transition,” said Josh Bivens, Director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute. “With the right incentives, policy levers and commitments from both the private and public sectors, our electric vehicle transformation will provide good-paying jobs without disruption to workers or the market.”
“Workers of color have the most to gain and potentially the most to lose in this transition to electric vehicles,” said Román Partida-López, Transportation Equity Legal Counsel at The Greenlining Institute. “It’ll take conscious effort and deliberate policies and investments to make sure workers of color in the auto industry don’t get left behind and can take advantage of the new opportunities the transition to electric vehicles will create.”
“The switch to electric vehicles will have profound economic and social effects, reordering America’s iconic manufacturing industry to a degree not seen since its founding,” said Brad Markell, Executive Director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council. “This report makes clear that the economic outcomes for workers and communities can be significantly improved with the right set of policies. We must ensure that jobs created by electric vehicles are high-paying union jobs in existing auto communities, and that we strive to increase the domestic share of automobile production. This is an opportunity to transform the auto industry in a way that reverses recent trends, and we should put the pedal to the metal.”
“With the right investments, we can create good jobs by building a competitive electric-vehicle industry, from battery production to vehicle assembly to charging station installation,” said Luke Tonachel, Director for Clean Vehicles and Fuels at Natural Resources Defense Council. “Thankfully, Congress is considering historic investments in this industry, ones that will benefit workers and the environment. It must follow through. It’s time to put it into drive and hit the accelerator.”
“We can reduce emissions and fight climate change while creating significant economic opportunities for workers,” said Zoe Lipman, BlueGreen Alliance Director of Manufacturing and Advanced Transportation. “We now ask that our policymakers take these critically-needed steps to ensure a sustainable and economically viable transition to electric vehicles. The investments we make in retooling and rebuilding our manufacturing sector for EVs and beyond, repairing and modernizing our infrastructure, and growing clean energy and energy efficiency will create a clean, thriving, and equitable economy for all.”
A recording of the event is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYedLgkqM6A.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES MENTIONED DURING THE EVENT
- BlueGreen Alliance/UAW/United Steelworkers/AFL-CIO – EV Backgrounder
- AFL-CIO – Ohio River Valley Hydrogen and CCS Hub Market Formation