As the United Auto Workers’ strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis continues in its second week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk went to his preferred way of communicating with the outside world – X (formerly Twitter) – to voice his opinion on the union workers’ demands.
In a reply to another user who said that President Biden agrees that UAW members should get a 40 percent wage increase, Musk blasted the union, saying it’s a sure way to drive the three companies bankrupt.
According to Automotive News, the union reduced its demands for pay raises in negotiations with officials from 40 percent to 36 percent. At the same time, it requests the elimination of different tiers for workers and a cutback of temporary workers who are typically paid less, as well as a restoration of defined-benefit pensions and more time off for workers, including a proposed 32-hour work week.
The UAW strike that started on September 15 is the first of its kind to simultaneously target Ford, GM, and Chrysler (which is part of Stellantis), affecting several manufacturing facilities in the United States. The strike also marked another first in the world of politics after President Joe Biden became the first sitting US president to join workers on a picket line two days ago.
Speaking to UAW members at GM’s Willow Run redistribution center west of Detroit, Biden said that union workers saved the auto industry back in 2008 and before. "You made a lot of sacrifices, gave up a lot when the companies were in trouble. But now they’re doing incredibly well. And guess what? You should be doing incredibly well too," the US President added.
Tesla, along with Rivian and Lucid, is not unionized, although there have been attempts in the past to organize. In 2017, UAW worked to unionize employees at Tesla’s Fremont plant in California, but the initiative didn’t get enough traction to get to a vote. Another union campaign was put to an end at the firm’s factory in Buffalo, New York in February, with the Workers United union accusing Tesla of terminating dozens of workers who campaigned.