Tesla CEO Elon Musk invites worker union to hold vote at its California plant
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been criticised several times for opposing worker unions at the electric car major's plant. But, in a surprising move, he on Thursday said that he has invited labour union United Auto Workers (UAW) to hold a vote at the company's California plant.
Elon Musk's announcement comes as the Tesla CEO criticized the Biden administration and Democrats for a proposal to give union-made, US-built electric vehicles an additional $4,500 tax incentive. This would help the automakers such as Ford and General Motors, who have been making EVs and have strong connections with UAW. Tesla on the other hand, so far refrained from endorsing worker unions. Tesla and foreign automakers do not have unions at their US factories.
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In his tweet on Thursday, Musk said the real challenge was the negative unemployment in Bay Area, and not compensating people well would make them leave as they have many offers. "I'd like hereby to invite UAW to hold a union vote at their convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them," Musk wrote.
US President Joe Biden has often praised the electric vehicle efforts made by Detroit automakers like General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co, even though they sell fewer EVs than Tesla. On the other hand, Biden never mentioned Tesla's name. This irked Elon Musk and the Tesla CEO criticised the Biden administration openly in a series of tweets. The latest move to call UAW to hold an election seems to be in connection with that.
Musk has also faced the ire of the US National Labor Relations Board, which last year ruled the company violated US labour law and ordered Tesla to direct him to delete a 2018 tweet saying employees would lose their stock options if they formed a union.
In the last few months, the EV maker has been hit by a string of lawsuits on racial discrimination and sexual harassment by current and former workers. A lawsuit was also filed accusing Tesla of failing for years to address widespread racist conduct at its Fremont assembly plant.