Chief Executive Officer
He said he was open to the United Auto Workers union to hold a vote on the company’s work regulation after long resistance to such a move.
“The real challenge we are facing is that the Bay Area has negative unemployment, so if we don’t treat and compensate the (cool) people well, they will have many other offers and they will leave!” Mr. Musk said via
late on Wednesday. “I hereby invite the UAW to hold a union vote at their convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them,” he said.
UAW had no immediate comment.
Workers for Tesla, America’s largest auto company by value, are not unions. Some employees at the company’s plant in Fremont, California, sought to organize several years ago with the help of the UAW union. Tesla has taken steps to derail this effort, including “forced questioning” of employees and threatening them with the loss of stock options, Moves That Violate US Labor LawThe National Labor Relations Board ruling. The board of directors ordered Mr. Musk to delete a tweet praising unions, among other remedies. The electric car maker has appealed the board’s decision.
Tesla’s lack of labor unions has made the electric car maker somewhat of a pariah, as the Biden administration lobbies to persuade Americans to embrace such vehicles. President Biden ignored Tesla’s August White House meeting on electric cars With UAW officials and executives from
which considers electric vehicles a small part of its total sales. In his State of the Union address this week, Mr. Biden mentioned Ford Motor Company and General Motors for their investments in electric vehicles. Tesla, which produces more of those vehicles, is not mentioned.
Mr. Musk has targeted the president at times. “Biden is a UAW sock puppet,” the Tesla boss tweeted in October, using an emoji to refer to socks.
Billionaire in December too Came out against a legislative proposal for the Biden administrationcriticizing federal efforts aimed at stimulating the adoption of electric vehicles, including a bill that would boost incentives to buy battery-powered cars.
The emergence of a generation of electric car startups poses new challenges to an organized American workforce, which has seen a decline in auto sector membership in recent decades.
“Tesla factory workers’ compensation is the highest in the auto industry,” said Mr. Musk. He has targeted the UAW on several occasions on Twitter.
Workers at a Tesla plant in Germany this week elected a labor council, a body of worker representatives that has the power to mediate on behalf of the workforce on working conditions. The labor council is not qualified as a union and may not participate in collective bargaining, according to German labor law.
The election of the Labor Council at Tesla’s new factory near Berlin was preceded by a bit of drama. Some saw this as a door for IG Metall, Germany’s largest industrial labor union, to organize its workforce. However, IG Metall officials suggested that one group of candidates for the board was too close to management.
The election result was divided. A bloc of candidates believed to be close to Mr. Musk failed to win a majority of the vote, but due to voting rules, got a slim majority. This means that they will have to cooperate with other members of the labor council closer to the union.
“This finding enhances the workforce’s ability to influence and shape things,” said Birgit Dietz, a senior official at IG Metall.
Tesla faces other labor problems. A California regulatory agency has filed a lawsuit against the company Allegations of racial discrimination and harassmentsaying the electric car maker turned a blind eye to years of complaints from black factory workers.
A California Department of Employment and Housing complaint filed last month targeted alleged workplace issues at Tesla’s main US auto plant, located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The company criticized the Civil Rights Agency’s investigation in a blog post that preempted the lawsuit. “Tesla strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment and has a dedicated employee relations team that responds and investigates all complaints,” the company said.
Tesla also produces cars in Shanghai, where workers are not affiliated with unions.
write to William Boston at willi[email protected] and Rebecca Elliott at [email protected]
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