Auto workers fear implications of an electric future

Demonstrators holds signs during a United Auto Workers strike outside General Motors' plant in Flint, Michigan, on Sept. 16, 2019. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Anthony Lanzilote

The milkman went missing thanks to the rise of refrigerators. Switchboard operators were done in by the dawn of direct dialing. And in the car industry, auto workers are deathly afraid the engine assembler will give way to battery builders.

Dread over the prospect that plug-in cars -- which have fewer parts and require less labor to build -- will doom auto jobs helped spark the first United Auto Workers strike against General Motors in over a decade. Ford and Fiat Chrysler, which are rolling their own battery-powered models to market in the coming years, could face a similar fate if they're unable to quell the UAW's concerns that widespread adoption of EVs endangers the employment of 35,000 union members...

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