TodayApril 15, 2022

GM drops employee health care, EPA to revoke CARB waiver

GM to employees on strike: Take two aspirin and call the UAW

  • UAW on strike, GM cancels health insurance
  • EPA set to revoke California Air Resources Board waiver
  • Thirteen other states follow CARB emission’s regulations

It’s been a rough week for General Motors employees. The UAW employees went out on strike, and GM canceled the health care of striking employees. They will go on Cobra, and it will be the financial responsibility of the UAW.

It was 2007, a year before the last recession, that the UAW went out on strike for better wages. Let’s hope it’s not a precursor of financial, economic downturns, and that the strike is over soon.

It was a striking post on the UAW-GM strike, “We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families,” a statement from a GM spokesperson read. “While on strike, hourly employees will be eligible for COBRA so their health care benefits can continue. The cost of COBRA will not be covered by the company.”

Reuters reported that GM said in a statement that its offer to the UAW included more than $7 billion in new investments, 5,400 jobs – a majority of which would be new jobs. Along with pay increases, improved benefits and a contract-ratification bonus of $8,000. GM also said there was a possibility of an electric vehicle at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant that now has no future assignment. GM could also build an electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown, and go through with the proposed sale of the plant to a group affiliated with electric vehicle start-up Workhorse Group Inc.

Since the John Batchelor radio show podcast, General Motors announced that it is reinstating health care coverage for its striking hourly workers,

More hot air over California’s emissions laws

The Trump administration is expected to revoke the state’s authority to set auto emissions rules that are stricter than federal standards. This revocation would result in part of a broader effort of the Trump administration to weaken regulations that address climate change.

Former coal lobbyist and current Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler is set to revoke California’s authority to set auto emissions rules that are stricter than federal standards. Thirteen states follow California’s authority; Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Speaking to the National Automobile Dealers Association NADA, Wheeler said, “the Trump administration will begin taking the steps necessary to establish one set of national fuel-economy standards.” The federal standards would weaken regulations. The Trump administration plans to announce this autumn a separate rule to dramatically roll back Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards.

California was accorded special status in the 1970 Clean Air Act, allowing the state to set its own emissions standards if it could convince federal authorities of the need to do so. Most of California’s antipollution measures have been adopted nationally.

The widely expected move has national significance: 13 states — roughly a third of the country’s auto market — follow California’s tighter rules.

What’s next: California has promised to fight the change all the way to the Supreme Court. The outcome could split the domestic vehicle market, a nightmare scenario for automakers that would see some states adhering to stricter standards than others.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has vowed to take the Trump administration to court. Speaking on Tuesday, California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said that while the White House “has abdicated its responsibility,” his state “has stepped up.”

Another reason to hate California

Compared to 2016, California’s GDP grew 3.6 percent while the carbon intensity of its economy declined by 4.5 percent.

With no electricity bill and no gasoline bill, more Californians have more discretionary income. Fewer emissions, more discretionary income equals a cleaner higher-income California.

My electricity and gasoline bill averages $600 a month. That’s around $7,000 a year. Times that by the next twenty years and tell me what you would do with $150,000 extra in your pocket because that is what you would have if you were me.

Haters are going to hate.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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