The UAW strike places Biden’s electric vehicle revolution in a challenging position.

The United Auto Workers strike that stretched into its fourth day on Monday has put a spotlight on how President Biden’s electric-vehicle transition is presenting hurdles for a key labor constituency of the incumbent Democrat.

EVs are a pillar of Mr. Biden’s green energy agenda, but they require far less labor to produce and are more often made with battery components from non-union labor.

UAW President Shawn Fain, who has occasionally expressed criticism towards the president’s promotion of electric vehicles, highlighted the union’s endorsement of the environmentally conscious transition. However, he emphasized the importance of ensuring a fair and equitable shift that does not jeopardize well-paying union jobs.

“I cannot reword”

Mr. Biden has promised to be history’s greenest and most pro-labor president. The striking autoworkers, who are demanding more pay and shorter workweeks, have proved those are difficult goals to achieve simultaneously.

The UAW strike against Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers (General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis) has been used by Republicans to support their argument against Mr. Biden’s green energy agenda for autoworkers.

Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP presidential race, expressed his belief that autoworkers will eventually lose their jobs due to the production of electric cars in China. Trump criticized the leadership for betraying the autoworkers’ interests.

Notably, the UAW endorsed Mr. Biden in the 2020 election but has declined to do so yet for 2024. Mr. Fain declined to say how — or whether — Mr. Biden can win over the union’s endorsement a second time.

“I cannot reword”

Mr. Biden has defended the UAW, saying in remarks at the White House last week that the EV transition “should be fair and a win-win for autoworkers and auto companies.” The president dispatched administration officials to Detroit to participate in the ongoing talks between automakers and Mr. Fain.

Mr. Biden’s tax-and-climate spending law known as the Inflation Reduction Act will pump tens of billions of dollars into EVs over the next decade through tax incentives for new battery manufacturing and purchases at the dealership. The administration is also considering forcing automakers to largely ditch gas-powered cars with a stringent proposed rule for tailpipe emissions that would require dealers’ new vehicle sales to be up to 60% EVs by 2030 and 67% EVs by 2032.

Ford, meanwhile, has warned that EVs will require 40% less labor. It’s why the UAW and autoworkers are looking to unionize domestic EV battery manufacturing, a sector of the industry dominated by China.

Despite being core Democratic constituencies, climate groups and auto industry unions have traditionally had strained relationships. However, this time, they are united as their realms become more interconnected.

An open letter signed by over 100 environmental and advocacy organizations expresses strong support for the demands of UAW members. The negotiations’ success is deemed crucial for workers’ rights, well-being, and the protection of people and the environment.

The BlueGreen Alliance, an organization aiming to bring together environmentalists and labor unions, expresses its support for the UAW.

“I cannot reword”

The UAW argues that EVs should not be a scapegoat for automakers to slash pay or jobs. The union wants a 32-hour workweek, a 40% pay increase over the next four years and the elimination of a tiered employment system. Their contract with Ford, GM and Stellantis ended Friday night without a resolution to their demands, prompting a targeted strike of 13,000 employees at select plants.

Mr. Fain cautions that more groups of the 150,000 members within the three companies are ready to initiate a strike, depending on the duration of the ongoing negotiations.

Detroit’s Big Three automakers have enjoyed record profits since the near collapse of the industry during the recession of 2008-09, and so have their executives. Last year, GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra made $29 million, Ford CEO Jim Farley made $21 million and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares made $25 million.

The hourly wages for autoworkers can range from $18 to $32, depending on their level of experience and job position.