RELEASE: New CAP Report Outlines How Federal Investment in Electric Vehicles Can Be a Win for American Workers

Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress, written in consultation with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, outlines how to preserve well-paying union jobs with good benefits as the American auto industry transitions away from the internal combustion engine to battery-powered electric vehicles.

Globally, the auto industry is already transitioning to electric vehicles, and the United States is lagging behind. In order to remain competitive and address climate change, the U.S. auto industry must undergo a rapid shift to electric vehicles in the coming years. This report provides a roadmap for federal policymakers to accelerate this transition in a way that meets clean energy goals and creates high-quality, good-paying jobs in the United States, both across the electric vehicle supply chain and within complementary infrastructure development. The report includes some of the following recommendations:

  • Congress should mandate job-quality standards in all federal support for electric vehicles. Examples of this include guaranteeing family-supporting wages and benefits, prohibiting discrimination and respecting workers’ right to join unions and bargain collectively, and strengthening domestic content requirements across the value chain.
  • The federal government should  provide incentives for consumers to switch to electric vehicles while also incentivizing manufacturers to invest in domestic electric vehicle production.
  • Federal investment through tax incentives and direct grants should support businesses and state and local governments in building, installing, and maintaining residential, workplace, and public charging infrastructure.

“The transition to electric vehicles presents an important opportunity to improve conditions for American workers, address climate change, and keep the U.S. auto industry competitive for decades to come,” said Karla Walter, co-author of the report and senior director for employment policy at the Center for American Progress. “By investing in the electric vehicle transition now, the government can strengthen and expand pathways to the middle class for Americans from all walks of life while also promising clean air, healthy communities, and a stable climate.”

“Well-paying job opportunities are at the heart of CAP’s report on the future of electric vehicles in our nation. Electric vehicles present an enormous opportunity to expand jobs in our energy sector, create quality construction and infrastructure opportunities, and create and retool the automotive manufacturing and parts assembly industries,” said Brian Rothenberg, senior communications adviser at the UAW. “Specifically, CAP rightly points out that these jobs must be high-quality domestic jobs. The key to that is the active insistence that these jobs stay in the United States; that they be similar in quality and pay to current jobs; that the right to organize and appropriate safety standards are applied; and that we have retraining and prioritize any dislocated workers in industries affected by the changing technology. UAW members are proud of the electric vehicles they already make. And our goal is to be a part of the burgeoning technology and product expansion for years to come. CAP’s report is a blueprint to make that happen.”

Read the full report: “Electric Vehicles Should Be a Win for American Workers: How Federal Policies To Expand Electric Vehicle Production Can Ensure a Good Jobs Future for the United States” by Karla Walter, Trevor Higgins, Bidisha Bhattacharyya, Malkie Wall, and Rita Cliffton

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