How Going Electric Impacts Jobs at GM

In a San Francisco Chronicle article, Navigant Research discusses how GM’s transition to all electric vehicles may impact jobs

As GM transitions to all electric vehicles, many anticipate that thousands of jobs at engine and transmission plants across the industrial Midwest will be replaced with smaller workforces.

In a San Francisco Chronicle article, Navigant Research’s Sam Abuelsamid discussed GM’s restructuring, part of which is to develop new electric vehicle models, and the effects it would have on the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. 

As a part of this restructuring, GM is in contract talks to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio, where the company is closing an assembly plant. The plant would likely be staffed by fewer union workers who would be paid less money than what UAW members receive.

Getting top pay for Lordstown is important for the union because battery jobs could eventually replace GM’s factories that employ 10,500 hourly workers, Abuelsamid said.

"I can see why the UAW would reject such a deal," Abuelsamid explained. "To accept a lower wage tier for employees at Lordstown or any other plant where GM wants to do something similar, I think that would be foolish for them."

However, Abuelsamid also recognized that GM will need to keep wages lower to remain competitive with other automakers who will contract out manufacturing to nonunion factories that pay less than the UAW wage. The company also needs to cut costs as it transitions to more electric vehicles which are more expensive than gas-powered automobiles. 

Read the San Francisco Chronicle Article
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