December 15, 2021
By Ramona du Houx
Today, more than 60 labor unions, environmental groups, and faith, consumer, health, and economic justice organizations sent a letter to Senate Democrats urging them to support the inclusion of a bonus tax credit for consumer electric vehicles manufactured in factories where workers are represented by a union, a provision included in the Build Back Better Act.
“The Build Back Better Act is poised to make historic investments in clean technology, invest in U.S. companies and American workers, support millions of good-paying jobs, and help the nation compete in the global clean energy economy of the future. That’s why the updated electric vehicle tax credit with the incentives for unionized labor is essential to helping boost our economy and making sure that American workers see the benefits of the transition to clean vehicles and transportation. Supporting good-paying union jobs is key to this effort and is a no-brainer,” said Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy at the Center for American Progress.
The updated credit offers the expanded benefit to consumers at the point of sale and includes a phased-in domestic manufacturing requirement and union bonus. The group’s letter noted that this tax credit is essential to speed EV deployment, create onshore jobs, increase wages and benefits for auto-sector workers and communities, secure basic rights and protections in the workplace, and improve U.S. competitiveness.
Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Democrats are still negotiating over $15 billion in tax incentives for electric vehicles. One sticking point is a $4,500 bonus credit for cars and trucks made in the United States by union workers. West Virginia is home to a nonunion manufacturing plant owned by Toyota, which has lobbied against the provision.
Ben King, a senior analyst for the research firm Rhodium Group, said that removing the union provision would shrink the overall size of the tax credit, leading to fewer electric vehicles on the road and weakening the bill’s overall emissions-reduction potential.
“The EV consumer tax credit as passed in the House version of the Build Back Better Act is crucial to the future of American auto manufacturing. EVs are coming, there is no debate. The choices policymakers make now will determine whether the United States leads in manufacturing the vehicles of the future and builds the family-supporting manufacturing jobs working people need in communities across the nation,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh.
The union provision is aimed, in part, at building capacity to produce electric vehicles here in the United States — ensuring an equitable transition to a clean energy economy with more union skilled jobs.
“Passing the Build Back Better Act and the Electric Vehicle Tax Credit with the Stabenow-Kildee provision will ensure that taxpayer money protects and expands good-paying union jobs in the United States. This broad coalition recognizes the opportunity we have before us to grow good-paying union jobs that build the American middle class, while addressing climate change. It can be a win-win. UAW members and working families need the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act and preserve the E.V. Tax Credit with the Stabenow-Kildee provision by year end. It’s time to grow good paying union jobs here at home,” said United Auto Workers (UAW) President Ray Curry.
The letter highlights the importance of the expanded EV tax credit and collective bargaining bonus.
“The Stabenow-Kildee EV tax provision will support high-quality union jobs in line with the climate and jobs vision put forward by President Biden,” said Brad Markell, Executive Director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council. “As the automobile industry transitions to electric vehicles, it is important that the incentives provided by the federal government lift up this vision and that our tax dollars support the highest job standards in the auto sector.”
“Manufacturing workers and communities across America are depending on building electric vehicles here at home and ensuring good jobs across the clean economy,” the letter states, further noting that the collective bargaining bonus will encourage automakers to do right by their workers and extend access to EVs to more consumers here in America.
“If we’re going to build the cleaner, more equitable transportation system of the future, we need to make sure that system works for everyone, including the people who work building the next generation of vehicles. As the U.S. auto industry steps up EV production to compete in an increasingly carbon-conscious global economy, we need to make sure that the jobs created by that production are good jobs that can sustain families and support the local economy. We urge Senators to keep the House’s EV tax incentives in place to make sure our policies support good jobs and protect workers’ right to organize,” said Michelle Robinson, Director, Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
View the letter online here.