Former Vice President Mike Pence argued Tuesday that the Biden administration’s push toward electric vehicles was to blame for the historic United Auto Workers strikes underway at the Big Three Detroit carmakers’ plants.
“I guarantee you that one of the things that’s driving that strike is that Bidenomics and their green energy, electric vehicle agenda is good for Beijing and bad for Detroit, and American autoworkers know it,” Pence said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
The strikes are a “reflection of the failed economic policies of the Biden administration,” said Pence, whose campaign to win the 2024 Republican presidential has struggled to gain traction in the polls.
“This drive toward electric vehicles, driving people away from gasoline-powered vehicles, any auto worker that’s paying attention would know that’s not in their long-term interest,” he said.
Pence’s stance on the strikes echoed the one pushed by his former boss, ex-President Donald Trump, the current front-runner in the GOP nomination contest.
About 12,700 UAW members last week went on strike at the assembly plants of General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis after the auto manufacturers and the union failed to reach a deal on new labor contracts.
The union’s main demands are to obtain more, and more equitable, compensation.
The UAW on Monday said it would announce additional strikes against the companies if both sides do not make “serious progress” in negotiations by midday Friday.
Trump’s remarks about the strike have largely been focused on the rise of electric cars, which he claims will harm American auto workers.
“The electric cars, automatically, are going to be made in China,” Trump said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday.
The Biden administration has taken steps to hasten the auto industry’s transition toward electric vehicles as part of its climate agenda, intensifying a clash over gas versus electric that was already a political wedge issue in the car-dependent U.S.
Trump has railed against the UAW’s leadership, even as he pushes the union to endorse him.
He is planning to counterprogram next week’s GOP primary debate by traveling to Detroit to speak with current and former union members.
UAW President Shawn Fain attacked Trump after the former president announced that plan.
“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Fain said.
“We can’t keep electing billionaires and millionaires that don’t have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class,” he said.
Fain’s union to date has withheld an endorsement of Biden, a longtime supporter of labor unions, due to concerns about the transition to electric vehicles.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Pence’s remarks.