On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Jim Stanford to talk about the wave of autoworker strikes in the US and Canada and what it means for the sector.
What have been the main issues at play in the autoworker strikes?
“In any union bargaining, in any industry, anywhere in Canada, wages and trying to keep up with the cost of living are obviously front and centre. We've also seen a big emphasis on pension improvements, as well as protecting workers during the auto industry's transition towards EV technology, which is accelerating by leaps and bounds.”
Will EVs take away jobs across the automotive supply chain?
“Part of the challenge here for Canada is ensuring we keep a healthy, bigger share of the industry. That’s one of the ways to mitigate against big job losses, and nailing down those big initial investments is part of that. Canada has got a good head start in that regard, in part because we had a strong auto industry to start with.”
Do the non-unionized automakers have any kind of advantage?
“Tesla's early mover advantage is dissipating because everyone and their dog is getting into the EV business. Many are doing it very successfully, and the price of EVs is coming down very rapidly. The role of labour costs in overall pricing and market competition is still trivial. It’s well under 5% of the total cost of producing a vehicle now, even lower for EVs.”
This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Listen to the full conversation here.