Posts tagged Inflation Reduction Act
Biden-backed wind power company cancels New Jersey projects despite $1B in subsidies
November 1, 2023 // Under the Inflation Reduction Act, renewable developers stand to receive tax credits of up to 30% for qualifying investments that use union labor, and more credits if the project meets additional criteria. White House spokesperson Michael Kikukawa said in a statement that “momentum remains on the side of an expanding US offshore wind industry,” despite the collapse of the Ocean Wind project. “While macroeconomic headwinds are creating challenges for some projects, momentum remains on the side of an expanding U.S. offshore wind industry — creating good-paying union jobs in manufacturing, shipbuilding, and construction; strengthening the power grid; and providing new clean energy resources for American families and businesses,” Kikukawa said.
Opinion: Biden says he’s most pro-union president ever. But his policies hurt striking UAW workers
October 2, 2023 // Unfortunately, UAW leadership continues to advocate for their own best interests. Those who have worked in the auto industry know that negotiations must walk a fine line. If the Big Three have to file for bankruptcy protection, as General Motors and Chrysler did in 2009, all autoworkers are in a much more precarious position. UAW leadership has a responsibility to preserve their members’ jobs − securing raises that will improve their members’ standards of living, but that are not so excessive they threaten workers’ long-term job security. Moving forward, UAW leadership should target the real problem: Bidenomics. The UAW supported Biden in 2020 and enthusiastically endorsed his Inflation Reduction Act, despite the fact that it included electric vehicle subsidies that are accelerating the elimination of union jobs.
Unions rebut claims green jobs will be worse for workers
September 26, 2023 // Automakers are in the midst of a massive transition to electric vehicles and other zero-emission models. While many announced voluntary goals of their own prior to Biden’s election, the shift is encouraged in part through federal tax credits included in last year’s climate, tax and health care reconciliation law known as the Inflation Reduction Act. Supporters of the transition say the issue at the moment is not one of job quantity. Job growth in zero-emission vehicles has significantly outpaced internal combustion engine vehicles, according to a report released this month by the nonpartisan business group E2. While the gas- and diesel-powered vehicle industry grew by 1.6 percent last year, the electric vehicle industry grew by 26.8 percent. Amid the transition, the UAW has expressed concerns that many of the jobs at these new facilities offer lower pay and fewer benefits to workers compared with jobs manufacturing internal combustion engines.
Electric Vehicle Factories Are Overwhelmingly Nonunion. The UAW Strike Could Change That.
September 20, 2023 // Nonunion companies are also getting in on the EV facility boomlet. Tesla plans to expand to a lithium refinery in Texas and produce battery cells, packs, and modules in California and Texas. Other companies investing in battery plants include BMW (South Carolina), Honda (Ohio), Hyundai (Georgia), Mercedes-Benz (Alabama), Toyota (North Carolina), Volkswagen (Ontario, Canada), and Volvo (South Carolina). The construction boom continues in nonunion plants. A variety of battery manufacturers are building new facilities, too. These include the Japanese company AESC (Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina), the Chinese-owned Gotion (Michigan), South Korea’s LG Energy Solution (Arizona and Michigan) the start-up Our Next Energy (Michigan), Japanese-owned Panasonic (Kansas), South Korean SK Battery America (Georgia), and Redwood Materials, a recycling company (Nevada and South Carolina).
Op-ed: With fewer workers choosing unions, administration turns to taxpayer dollars to boost union ranks
September 19, 2023 // First, some solicitations for grants, such as under the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean School Bus” program, ask whether applicants will recognize card check certifications. Card check is a process where workers are denied the chance to vote for or against a union by private ballot. Instead, union organizers are allowed to repeatedly pressure them to sign cards, in public. Both the text of the National Labor Relations Act and numerous court rulings (including by the Supreme Court) have recognized that private ballots are far superior to signature cards in determining workers’ true feelings about unionizing. Apparently, the administration thinks “free and fair” means a free and fair chance for organizers to pressure workers into saying “yes.” Second, many grant solicitations, such as those under the Department of Energy’s “Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training,” “encourage” applicants to remain neutral in organizing campaigns. What this means is that employers are being asked to waive their statutory right to discuss the potential negatives of unionizing with workers. Instead, workers will get just one side of the story — that of the union. With no other source of information, workers might just decide to say yes, especially when being pressured to sign a card. Third, some applications, such as those published by the National Telecommunications and Information Agency to build broadband, ask applicants to sign labor peace agreements. Labor peace certainly sounds desirable, but here’s what it means in practice. Let’s say a union decides it wants to represent the workers of a particular grantee. Upon notice of that intent, the grantee would have to get the union to sign a labor peace agreement, which typically includes a “no-strike” pledge among other provisions. The catch is that if the union doesn’t sign, you don’t get your grant. This gives the union tremendous leverage to demand organizing concessions, most notably things like card check and neutrality.
As Auto Strike Looms, Biden Admin Announces $15.5 Billion For Electric Vehicle Manufacturers
September 6, 2023 // President Biden has a couple of problems. Electric vehicles aren’t flying off the lot. Autoworkers’ unions are mad at him for pushing EVs which could kill their jobs. So, what’s Biden’s administration’s solution to this two-tiered conundrum? To put it bluntly, he is now speeding up the delivery of $15.5 billion — courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers — to artificially hold up the market in hopes of appeasing his political allies.
Biden administration offers $12B to convert auto factories into EV plants
September 6, 2023 // The Energy Department said that both sets of funding announced Thursday will prioritize good working conditions, including facilities that pay high wages and commit to retaining or expanding collective bargaining agreements. However, there will be no specific requirements needed to get the funding, Betony Jones, the director of the office of energy jobs confirmed. That announcement comes as labor concerns bubble up in the transition to clean energy — with the United Auto Workers union accusing industry of using the transition to cut wages and pushing the Biden administration to do more about it. In a written statement, the union praised the administration’s announcement. “We are glad to see the Biden Administration doing its part to reject the false choice between a good job and a green job. This new policy makes clear to employers that the EV transition must include strong union partnerships with the high pay and safety standards that generations of UAW members have fought for and won,” union president Shawn Fain said in a written statement.
Looming auto strike puts Biden’s labor loyalty to the test
September 1, 2023 // On Monday, the Treasury Department sent a love letter to unions in the form of a new report, arguing that unions are central to the U.S. middle class. “The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the benefits of unions to the middle class and the broader economy and is committed to fulfilling the policy objectives of the [National Labor Relations Act],” the report said. While unions are seeing a surge in popularity in the U.S., organized labor has been in long-term decline, with union participation rates falling by half since they first started being measured in the early 1980s.
The United Auto Workers Meet Electrification
August 22, 2023 // LeRoy and Whiton calculated in their report that battery factory subsidies will range from $2 million to $7 million per job over the ten-year duration of the 45X program. One of their case studies is the $3.5 billion BlueOval Battery Park in Marshall, Michigan. So far, the facility has been awarded $1.7 billion in state and local government subsidies, in addition to qualifying for an expected $6.7 billion in federal 45X credits. Yet wages at the battery plant will average around $45,000 a year. The gap between the sheer amount of money on the table for manufacturers and the quality of job it translates into is the IRA’s weakest link. “The states where these facilities are located should be publicly saying that in exchange for such subsidies the company should allow for voluntary [union] recognition votes,” LeRoy suggested.
Opinion: Free Raises for Everybody. Not.
August 17, 2023 // One obvious result will be higher costs on public works and probably fewer of them since federal dollars won’t go as far. States and localities may have to borrow more and raise taxes to fund projects. Fewer semiconductor fabs and renewable projects will probably be built since private capital won’t go as far. Another result will be less private investment, especially in housing, since contractors will have to increase wages to compete for workers with federally funded projects that must pay the prevailing wage. The rule will also reduce the competitive advantage of right-to-work states by raising the wages their contractors have to pay.