In a significant move towards green transportation, the Biden administration is rolling out a whopping $12 billion to back the automobile industry. This sum is directed towards automakers and suppliers, with the aim of adapting existing plants to produce electric vehicles (EVs).
Jennifer Granholm, the Energy Secretary and former Michigan governor, announced this plan, emphasizing its role in the workforce.
“While we transition to EVs, we want to ensure that workers can transition in place, that there is no worker, no community left behind,” she stated.
This massive investment comes amidst concerns raised by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and automakers. Their worry revolves around the potential risk to jobs as the nation swiftly moves towards adopting EVs, especially in states like Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.
Furthermore, the UAW has been on edge; just last week, its members showcased their readiness to strike if wage and pension negotiations with major Detroit automakers falter.
However, Granholm expressed hope that this initiative might help ease tensions, mentioning that discussions with various stakeholders, including auto workers and their communities, are ongoing.
President Joe Biden championed the move, seeing it as a bridge between the traditional auto industry and the future of green energy.
He voiced his belief in a statement, saying that “building a clean energy economy can and should provide a win-win opportunity for auto companies and unionized workers who have anchored the American economy for decades.”
Highlighting the potential of this initiative, Granholm reportedly pointed to the Jeep factory in Belvidere, Illinois. Facing closure, there’s hope that these grants could turn its fate around. Such factories that are community mainstays are “prime for taking advantage of these funding opportunities,” she mentioned.
The Energy Department added a noteworthy detail: while there aren’t strict labor requirements tied to the funding, projects showcasing better labor conditions stand a brighter chance of securing financial support.
In essence, the US is backing a transformative move towards electric vehicles, making strides in environmental conservation while keeping its workforce and communities at the forefront of consideration.