As the transition to electric vehicle production and adoption ramps up the U.S., with companies like Honda and LG linking up to produce battery factories, and lawmakers enacting policies to speed the transition away from combustion engines, labor expert Ian Greer can speak to the impacts such changes will have on workers.
Greer has studied the EV transition in Germany, which has so far been ahead of the U.S. in its shift to EVs, and has drawn labor lessons from a European context.
“Until now the U.S. has lagged far behind Europe in EV market share: in Germany, for example, about 25 percent of cars sold are already fully electric. Missing from the U.S. conversation are the workers making these vehicles and components. Will workers making internal combustion engines and components simply lose their jobs? Will working conditions making EVs be better, or worse than those making traditional cars? The experience of Germany shows that the outcome of this transition depends on worker rights to participate in the workplace and their collective power as union members.”