2 min read
29 Sep

Author: Philip Uwaoma

A bill aimed at safeguarding union workers in federal vehicle contracts is reintroduced in the House

Washington – Rep. Haley Stevens, a Democrat from Birmingham, has reintroduced a bill aimed at bringing transparency and accountability to federal vehicle contracts. This legislation, known as the United Auto Workers Job Protection Act, proposes several key requirements for companies seeking federal vehicle contracts. 

Related Reading: 2023 Ferrari Stock Market Prices And Performance In The Last Decade 

Under the bill, companies bidding for federal vehicle contracts must disclose essential labor information, including: 

1. The location where they plan to build the vehicles. 

2. The number of temporary and contract workers at the manufacturing plant. 

3. The minimum and maximum hourly wages at the plant. 

4. Any violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or the National Labor Relations Act. 

If this legislation is passed, companies would need written permission from federal agencies to relocate production to a different location. 

The primary objective of this bill is to ensure transparency and prevent contract awardees from changing production locations without notice. 

The Oshkosh Example

Rep. Stevens, when discussing the motivation behind the bill, cited a specific incident involving the 2021 contract awarded to Oshkosh Defense by the United States Postal Service. 

Despite expectations of unionized labor in Wisconsin, the production was redirected to South Carolina, raising concerns about avoiding union labor. Rep. Stevens emphasized the need to prevent such unexpected changes during contract execution. 

This legislation has garnered support from other Democratic representatives, including Dan Kildee, Debbie Dingell, Rashida Tlaib, and Shri Thanedar, all from Michigan. However, the bill's prospects in the Republican-controlled House appear uncertain without bipartisan support. 

The timing of this bill coincides with a significant labor development—the United Auto Workers (UAW) union's ongoing strike against the Detroit Three automakers. 

As the strike enters its third week, the union is poised to expand its list of strike targets unless an agreement is reached soon. This labor dispute underscores the broader challenges facing auto workers. 

The UAW, despite its strike, has expressed concerns about the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, which they argue incentivizes automakers to produce electric vehicles without mandating unionized workforces. 

Rep. Stevens refrained from confirming whether her legislation directly addresses these concerns. 

Related Reading: How Fleet Dumping Could Crash The Price Of Used EVs, According To Industry Experts 

"In terms of what is coming up today with the UAW and the legislation that we have passed for a clean energy transition," she remarked, "we have got to see contract negotiations squarely put workers at the forefront of any of these deals." 

The United Auto Workers Job Protection Act, if enacted, aims to create a more transparent and accountable framework for federal vehicle contracts, potentially benefiting auto workers by ensuring that contract awardees adhere to agreed-upon labor standards, wages, and production locations. 

However, its political path forward remains uncertain in the current partisan climate.

* The email will not be published on the website.