Sometimes, you can’t always get what you want. Unions across the United States must have thought that it would be all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows everywhere for leftist institutions under President Joe Biden. But as it turns out, their man in Washington has either fallen asleep in front of his log fire at the White House, or his first eight weeks have been a dereliction in duty. After two months of poor decisions for the working-class, will unions eventually ask for their votes and money back? Union workers might clamor for the return of Orange Man Bad if 46 continues to destroy their livelihoods.
Ford Goes Down Mexico Way
According to a letter to its members that was made public this week, United Auto Workers (UAW) rejected Ford’s proposal to construct a new electric vehicle south of the border instead of Ohio. The automaker wants to produce a next-generation EV in Cuautitlan, Mexico, where its Mustang Mach-E is manufactured.
The union accused the company of violating a 2019 agreement that included a $900 million investment in the Ford assembly plant in Avon Lake, OH. During tense labor negotiations, the two sides had added a provision for producing a new product in 2023. UAW Vice President Gerald Kariem noted that the arrangement would have secured the plant’s “employment well into the foreseeable future,” but stated that Ford “has decided it will not honor its promise.”
UAW officials had submitted data requests to understand the rationale behind the decision. Instead, the union highlighted that Ford has only provided “strategically limited information.” UAW is now “intensely exploring our options at this time.”
“Ford management expects us to just hang our heads and accept the decision. But let me be clear, we are making a different choice.
We 100% reject the company’s decision to put corporate greed and more potential profits over American jobs and the future of our members. We expect the company to honor its contractual commitments to this membership and when it fails to do so we will take action.”
The Hill obtained a copy of a response from Ford plant manager Jason Moore. He explained that the 2019 agreement is still in effect as the corporation is moving ahead with its investment in the plant and increasing production of Super Duty trucks.
Joe Biden – A Bad Return on Investment?
In April 2020, UAW, representing more than 400,000 workers, announced its endorsement of President Joe Biden. It accused former President Donald Trump of waging an “assault on worker rights to organize and fair wages,” adding that the administration had installed “anti-worker appointees.”
“In these dangerous and difficult times, the country needs a president who will demonstrate clear, stable leadership, less partisan acrimony and more balance to the rights and protections of working Americans,” UAW President Rory Gamble said in a statement.
But is there an intensifying divide between union leadership and blue-collar workers? During autopsies of the 2020 presidential election, the data highlighted a growing realignment of both parties, with working-class voters heading toward the Republicans and the professional class shifting to the Democrats. Biden performed worse than Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama in counties populated by blue-collar folks, the so-called forgotten men and women of America.
Considering what has unfolded since President Biden received the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, will the heads of unions emulate their members and endorse GOP candidates? Out of survival, they may have to begin diversifying endorsements for political hopefuls rather than the typical Democratic politician.
In January, one of Biden’s first acts was putting the kibosh on the Keystone XL pipeline, a decision that cost thousands of jobs and approximately $2.2 billion in lost wages. Affected workers were disturbed. Labor unions were upset, but there was ostensibly a gap between the outrage.
Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) called it “politics at its worst,” while the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters slammed the Biden-Harris administration for “listening to the voices of fringe activists instead of union members and the American consumer on day one.” The AFL-CIO says it was disappointed by the news, but it understands that Biden “also promised to create jobs, good union jobs, and be the best union president that we’ve ever had.”
Miss Him Yet?
Before even moving into the White House, Trump had scored a critical victory for workers. The division of United Technologies had announced plans to move its manufacturing operations of air-conditioning equipment from Indiana to Mexico. This would have resulted in 1,400 lost jobs. During the campaign, Trump said he would slap a 35% tax on every A/C unit built in Mexico and sold in the U.S. After discussions at Trump Tower, Carrier said it would keep half of the jobs it planned to shift to Mexico. Although it cost taxpayers $7 million, it was a public relations move that was meant to boost Middle America’s morale. The oft-touted “blue-collar boom” was decent enough to see job creation at the fastest rate in more than 30 years. The former president fell short of his ultimate objective, but America First Republicans at least placed the forgotten man on a mantle rather than angry pink-haired progressives.
Read more from Andrew Moran.