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The UAW has launched an unprecedented campaign to unionize the entire US auto sector at once, with thousands of auto workers at 13 companies announcing simultaneous unionization campaigns.

After UAW’s big strike win, winning 25%+ pay increases at the “Big Three” American automakers after a simultaneous strike at GM, Ford and Stellantis, the union is looking to maintain that momentum and go bigger.

Immediately after declaring victory, UAW President Shawn Fain said that in the next negotiation in 2028, UAW wants to come back to the bargaining table to negotiate not just with the Big Three, but with “a Big Five or a Big Six” – implying that the union planned to expand to other automakers. And President Biden said that he would support a UAW push to unionize Tesla and Toyota.

Now we’ve seen an official announcement that UAW isn’t just looking to unionize two or three more automakers, but all of them at once. Typically, unionization campaigns focus on a single company at a time, but here UAW is targeting a whole sector with simultaneous campaigns at each individual company. This seems like a tall order, but UAW’s triple-strike against the Big Three seemed to work out well, so it’s now applying that simultaneous tactic to organizing new union drives.

In service of its goal, UAW launched a new website at uaw.org/join, asking workers at each company to sign their union card. The website mentions several automakers by name, and has links to individual campaigns for each automaker where workers can go to express their interest in unionizing:

The campaign was accompanies by a video narrated by Fain making his union pitch. In short, UAW says that automakers and investors are making record profits, but that worker compensation has not kept up. The video specifically mentions Tesla and Rivian’s recent quarterly results, and also states that the Japanese/Korean automakers have combined to make $470 billion in profits, and the German automakers have made an additional $460 billion, in the last ten years.

Since the UAW’s big wins, other automakers have moved to increase pay to (partially) keep up with pay increases at the Big Three. VW, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda have all announced hikes in pay, showing how union wins can buoy an entire industry by making automakers compete for workers with higher pay.

But UAW doesn’t want to stop at a few voluntary pay hikes from other companies, it thinks that unionizing those companies can give workers a better deal. One worker at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant put it thusly:

We’ve lost so much since I started here, and the raise won’t make up for that. It won’t make up for the health benefits we’ve lost, it won’t make up for the wear and tear on our bodies. We still build a quality vehicle. People take pride in that, but morale is at an all-time low. They can give you a raise today and jack up your health benefits tomorrow. A union contract is the only way to win what’s fair.

Jeff Allen, 29-year Toyota assembly worker

UAW also quoted workers at Hyundai, VW, Mercedes and Rivian in its release, focusing on how they think unionization would improve safety and benefits at these automakers.

Electrek’s Take

Unions are having a bit of a moment in the US, reaching their highest popularity ever since surveys started asking about them.

Much of union popularity has been driven by COVID-related disruptions across the economy, with workers becoming unsatisfied due to mistreatment (labeling everyone “essential,” companies ending work-from-home) and with the labor market getting tighter with over 1 million Americans dead from the virus and another 2-4 million (and counting) out of work due to long COVID.

Unions have seized on this dissatisfaction to build momentum in the labor movement, with successful strikes across many industries and organizers starting to organize workforces that had previously been nonunion.

But union membership has been down over several decades in the US, and as a result, pay hasn’t kept pace with worker productivity and income distribution has become more unequal over time. It’s really not hard to see this influence when you plot these trends against each other.

It’s quite clear that lower union membership has resulted in lower inflation-adjusted compensation for workers, even as productivity has skyrocketed. As workers have produced more and more value for their companies, those earnings have gone more and more to their bosses rather than to the workers who produce that value. And it all began in the 80s, around the time of Reagan – a timeline that should be familiar to those who study social ills in America.

All of this isn’t just true in the US but also internationally. If you look at other countries with high levels of labor organization, they tend to have more fair wealth distribution across the economy and more ability for workers to get their fair share.

We’re seeing this in Sweden right now, as Tesla workers are striking for better conditions. Since Sweden has 90% collective bargaining coverage, it tends to have a happy and well-paid workforce, and it seems clear that these two things are correlated. And while that strike is continuing, meaning we haven’t yet seen the end of it, most observers think that the workers will eventually get what they want since collective bargaining is so strong in that country.

These are all reasons why, as I’ve mentioned in many of these UAW-related articles, I’m pro-union. And I think everyone should be – it only makes sense that people should have their interests collectively represented and that people should be able to join together to support each other and exercise their power collectively instead of individually.

This is precisely what companies do with industry organizations, lobby organizations, chambers of commerce, and so on. And it’s what people do when sorting themselves into local, state, or national governments. So naturally, workers should do the same. It’s just fair.

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Would you rather have one $50k EV or 50 of these $1k Chinese electric cars

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Would you rather have one k EV or 50 of these k Chinese electric cars

Panning for gold in Alibaba’s electric vehicle catalog is bound to find some real doozies, such as this week’s Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week. Meet this fun little purple three-wheeled electric car that barely manages to fulfill the requirements of a car.

The “Minitype 3 Seater Passenger Electric Passenger Tricycle” is quite a mouthful of a name, but what’s really important here are the specs.

With a single driver’s seat up front and a narrow bench in back, there is theoretically space for three souls aboard this thing. There’s no steering wheel up front, though. Instead, drivers operate the handlebar that controls the front wheel through a fork instead of traditional automotive linkage to two wheels. Think of it like an enclosed tuk-tuk.

That’s probably fine based on the rather low performance of the machine, reaching just 40 km/h (25 mph) and likely taking its sweet time to do so.

It may not seem spacious, but this is one of those “the seats go aaaalllllllllll the way back” kind of cars. Or at least, the one seat.

I’m not sure what kind of freedom or bonus points that buys you, unless your date is super into trikes. But let’s just say that the car is doing everything it can to be a good wingman for you.

If you can’t pick up chicks in this babe magnet, then you’re obviously doing something wrong.

The coolest part about this thing though is the price. Sure, if you try to buy just a single car then it’s a bit expensive at US $1,200. But if you’ll take 15 units then you can knock that price down to $1,100. An order of up to 49 gets you down to an even $1,000.

So which would you rather have? One $50k electric car or 50 $1k electric cars? Well let me answer that for myself with another question. How easy is it to start a Chinese EV racing league in your backyard track with just one $50k EV?

Ok, jokes aside, please don’t anyone try to actually order one of these. This glorified mobility scooter is likely sans batteries for that price, plus you’ll absolutely spend several times the supposed purchase price just to try and get it shipped out of China.

Then there’s the wrinkle of these not being street-legal anywhere outside of China, and potentially not even there.

So let’s just enjoy them from the safe distance of our computer screens, shall we? In the meantime, I’ll appreciate even more the electric mini-truck I actually DID buy from China.

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GE scraps plans to make giant 18 MW offshore wind turbines

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GE scraps plans to make giant 18 MW offshore wind turbines

GE Vernova is abandoning plans to supersize its offshore wind turbines and will instead focus on rolling out smaller “workhorse” turbines.

In March of last year, GE Vernova CEO Scott Strazik said during a GE Investor Conference that the market was receptive to larger variants of the company’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbines: “Now we are getting a very positive reception from the market with our 17 to 18 MW Haliade-X variant off of what we’re shipping this year.”

However, GE Vernova has decided to shelve that idea for the future. Parent company GE writes in its US Securities and Exchange Commission EX-99 that its Haliade-X platform has included “offerings available from 12 MW to 18 MW with estimated capacity factors ranging from 60% to 64%.” It continued:

One Haliade-X 13 MW turbine can power the equivalent of up to 16,000 European homes.

…We believe the future of our offshore wind business will be the Haliade-X 15.5 MW-250, a workhorse product.

The company made project losses in its offshore wind business last year. It expects margins to remain challenged in 2024 as it executes its Haliade-X backlog, “which will require significant cash use and working capital.” However, GE anticipates working capital dynamics and margins to improve beyond 2024.

The 800 MW Vineyard Wind I project off the Massachusetts coast consists of GE’s 13 MW Haliade-X turbines.

Read more: 5 wind turbines just came online at Massachusetts’ first offshore wind farm


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Jeep’s first EV will land in the US as early as July, electric Wrangler-like Recon to follow

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Jeep's first EV will land in the US as early as July, electric Wrangler-like Recon to follow

The first all-electric Jeep could be delivered to US customers as soon as July. According to new CEO Antonio Filosa, production of Jeep’s first EV, the Wagoneer S SUV, is expected to begin in Q2. Deliveries could happen as soon as the third quarter. Jeep’s CEO also confirmed we may see the electric Wrangler-like Recon launch by the end of the year.

The first Jeep EV could reach US buyers as early as Q3

After slashing prices amid slumping sales Friday (including up to $4K on its best-selling Grand Cherokee), Filosa admitted more needs to be done to fend off incoming competition.

Jeep is facing new rivals like the Rivian R1S, which was the seventh best-selling EV in the US last year. Volkswagen’s off-road Scout brand is also set to launch its first EVs soon.

Jeep’s first EV in the US, the Wagoneer S SUV, is expected to enter production in the second quarter. Filosa said the first deliveries could happen as early as the third quarter. Ahead of its official launch, Jeep is hyping the electric SUV with new teasers.

You can see Jeep’s iconic design evolving as it shifts to electric. Jeep claims the Wagoneer S will be “lightning fast,” packing 600 hp for a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds.

Jeep-Wagoneer-S-leaked
Jeep Wagoneer S electric SUV teaser (Source: Jeep)

It will be the first EV based on parent company Stellantis’ new STLA Large platform. Jeep aims for around 400 miles range, rivaling Rivian’s R1S.

Jeep also showed the first glimpse of the EV’s interior, which has plenty of buttons and digital screens. You can see a custom driver control center with Jeep’s signature Selec-Terrain toggle.

It also includes a standard dual-pane panoramic sunroof and a premium 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.

Jeep’s electric Wrangler-like Recon launching soon

Filsosa confirmed Jeep’s electric Wrangler-like Recon could launch by the end of the year, although the timing is still unclear.

We’ve already seen a sneak peek of the Recon Moab 4xe after images leaked out of a dealer event in Las Vegas.

Jeep's-electric-Wrangler-like-Recon
Jeep Recon Moab 4xe (source: Jeep Recon Forum)

The Recon will be a “rugged and fully capable electric SUV” inspired by the off-road Jeep Wrangler. Previous head of Jeep North America, Jim Morrison, said the Recon EV “has the capability to cross the mighty Rubicon Trail.” Not only that, it will “reach the end of the trail with enough range to drive back to town and recharge,” Morrison claimed.

Jeep's-electric-Wrangler-like-Recon
2024 electric Jeep Recon (Source: Stellantis)

Filosa confirmed the Recon will also be based on the STLA Large platform, suggesting at least 600 hp is likely.

The platform serves between 85 and 118 kWh battery pack options with up to 500 mi (800 km) range for sedans. It will also come with 400V and 800V options.

Stellantis claims the platform includes “extreme power,” claiming it will “outperform any of the existing Hellcat V-8s.” More powerful models can sprint from 0 to 62 mph (0-100km/hr) in the 2-second range, according to Stellantis.

According to the new UAW agreements, an electric Jeep Wrangler is also expected to launch, but not until 2028. Jeep’s best-selling Grand Cherokee will also get an all-electric option around 2027.

Source: Detroit News

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