As President Bush visited UAW members in Kansas City, Kan., and Claycomo, Mo., today, the union called for federal action to encourage investment in domestic production of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles.
“We’re pleased that the President of the United States could join our members and see the top-quality, highly relevant fuel-saving vehicles that are made by the domestic auto industry in union-represented plants,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.
“We hope the President will also join us in supporting incentives to bring the manufacture of hybrids, clean diesel and their key components in the United States,” said Gettelfinger.
President Bush visited a General Motors assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan. where members of UAW Local 31 assemble the hybrid Saturn Aura, and the Ford assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo., where members of UAW Local 249 assemble the hybrid Ford Escape.
“Our members are totally focused on building affordable, quality vehicles that consumers want to buy,” said UAW Vice President Cal Rapson, who directs the union’s GM Department. “We’re proud to be assembling these clean, green vehicles that can help reduce America’s oil consumption and fight global warming.”
The UAW supports a “Marshall Plan” to stimulate new investment in the U.S. auto industry, which would include a tax credit to any manufacturer who builds advanced technology vehicles and their key components in the United States.
Union members are concerned that many key components of hybrid drivetrain technology are now produced overseas.
“For the sake of America’s long-term energy security, we’d like to see the cutting-edge technology for the 21st century auto industry produced here at home,” said UAW Vice President Bob King, who directs the union’s Ford Department.
Current U.S. law provides a tax credit to consumers who purchase any hybrid vehicle, even if the vehicle and/or its key components are produced overseas.
“That means our tax policy is actually subsidizing overseas production,” said Jim Wells, director of UAW Region 5, which includes Kansas, Missouri, and other western states. “We think it makes more sense to provide incentives to build advanced technology vehicles and their key components right here at home.”
“We don’t have to choose between jobs and the environment,” said Gettelfinger. “We can have both.” A University of Michigan study, for example, shows that a tax credit for the manufacture of advanced technology vehicles and their key components would create enough jobs to pay for itself.
“A Marshall Plan for auto manufacturing is a win-win scenario,” said Gettelfinger. “We can help get clean, green vehicles on the road faster, and we can create high-paying, high value-added manufacturing jobs in the U.S.A.”