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How electric vehicles factor into UAW negotiation talks

How electric vehicles factor into UAW negotiation talks
How electric vehicles factor into UAW negotiation talks 02:27

(CBS DETROIT) - Days remain until the Big Three's contracts expire with the United Auto Workers union.

"Everybody is ready and willing to strike if we have to," says Logan Ausherman, who is one of the thousands of members preparing for the possibility of a strike.

"We've been working six, 10-hour days, you know, a week for the last 15 months, so if we can get that before Thursday, that'd be great, but unfortunately, don't see much hope in us bridging that gap," Ausherman says.

Members are gearing up, and negotiations are taking place around the clock, according to UAW president Shawn Fain. Aside from many of the points widely talked about, like time off, pay, and vacation, electric vehicles also play a role.

Experts speak on UAW negotiations ahead of potential strike 07:09

Ausherman comes to Detroit from Belvidere, Illinois, where a Stellantis plant shut its doors in early 2023, citing "competitive global market conditions and the necessary shift to electrification," something Marick Masters, Wayne State University professor of Business, believes is already on an accelerated path.

"There won't be jobs that you need to produce internal combustion vehicles, and those workers are going to be either retooled, relocated, or displaced," says Masters.

Masters says electric vehicles are certainly just one aspect that is and has been a part of many points of the UAW's negotiations with the Big Three. He adds that for jobs pertaining to EVs, the UAW will look to protect under the union umbrella. 

"They're concerned not only about saving jobs but making certain that the new jobs that come from electrification are represented by union workers," says Masters.

"We'll see how things continue to play out. And we have a lot of issues to resolve. I mean, there's a lot with the EV transition that has to happen, and there's, you know, hundreds of billions of, of our taxpayer dollars that are helping fund this, and workers cannot continue to be left behind in that equation," said Fain Monday afternoon.

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