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The UAW and other automotive and environmental stakeholders met Wednesday (June 28) in Washington at the White House. The event is an opportunity to examine the automotive industry's strong resurgence, and explore the role of innovation and advanced vehicles, as well as the economic impact on manufacturing in this country. Speakers from both the environmental sector and automotive sector will share the stage and give narrative on the innovation that is propelling the industry forward. UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, representing the organization at the event, directs the union's Independents, Parts and Suppliers Department.
"The Obama Administration has been an innovative champion for the automotive industry. President Obama's decision to save the domestic auto industry prevented an economic disaster. When others wanted us to fail, Obama cheered us on and gave us a lifeline and a path back to success," said Estrada. "We are positioned for long-term success, including meeting the consumer demand for innovative, efficient vehicles. The revival of the auto industry in this country is translating into supplier jobs including emerging green energy expansion. The supplier sector will play a central role in meeting those commitments."
Having the Obama Administration host the event further proves the president's continued commitment and support of better technology, better standards in fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions, thereby decreasing dependence on foreign oil. The UAW was a firm supporter of standards passed in 2011, improving light-duty vehicle efficiency to 40 mpg by 2020 could create up to 190,000 jobs in the United States. A diverse line up of participants will share their perspectives on the importance of the innovation that is propelling the industry forward.
The panel will highlight cooperative efforts by the BlueGreen Alliance, which include the UAW and several other unions and environmental groups. The group recently released its "Gearing Up" study on June 26 that shows how higher fuel-economy standards will create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the economy as the U.S. vehicle fleet becomes more efficient.
"I'm proud of my union for the work being done to solidify our place in today's manufacturing industry. We build world-class products that are turning heads and gaining customer satisfaction every day. We are changing the way people think about the domestic auto industry," said UAW Local 1250 President, Mike Gammella. Gammella works at the Cleveland Engine plant in Ohio and was on hand for the panel discussion at today's White House event.
"Being a responsible union takes more than just bargaining for secure contracts with strong benefits and wages. It also means pioneering new jobs and technology that coincide with the changing times; being ahead of the curve instead of always playing catch up," said UAW President Bob King. "The UAW successfully bargained 20,000 direct manufacturing jobs through 2015 with the Detroit Three automakers during the 2011 auto talks. It's a proven fact that auto manufacturing creates more jobs than any other industry and because of these jobs, a total of 180,000 jobs will be created in communities across America that have been devastated by poor, partisan Republican economic policies. Part of this is owed to new technology production and collaborative efforts on the political, business, labor and environmental front in a democratic fashion. King also said, "The domestic automakers also committed nearly $25 billion in investment in plants and products through our 2011 collective bargaining agreements. This year all three of the companies have reported record-breaking profits. This is proof that collective bargaining and successful business can work."
A 2011 study by the UAW, NRDC and the National Wildlife Federation found that there are currently over 500 facilities in the United States employing more than 150,000 people engaged in some aspect of developing or producing fuel-efficient vehicles or their key components.
The UAW is one of the nation's most diverse labor unions, with members in automobile, aerospace and agricultural equipment manufacturing, as well as education, health care, gaming and other industries.