In the midst of an ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) against major automakers General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to his favored communication platform, X (formerly known as Twitter), to share his perspective on the demands put forth by union workers.
In response to a fellow user's comment asserting that President Biden supports a 40 percent wage increase for UAW members, Musk criticized the union's stance, expressing concerns that such demands could potentially lead the three automotive giants towards bankruptcy.
They want a 40% pay raise *and* a 32 hour workweek. Sure way to drive GM, Ford and Chrysler bankrupt in the fast lane.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2023
According to reports by Automotive News, the UAW initially sought a 40 percent wage increase but subsequently reduced this demand to 36 percent during negotiations. Simultaneously, the union called for the removal of different wage tiers for workers, a reduction in the number of temporary employees, who often receive lower compensation, the reinstatement of defined-benefit pension plans, and increased time off for workers, including the proposal of a 32-hour workweek.
The UAW strike, which commenced on September 15, marks a historic event as it is the first strike to collectively target Ford, GM, and Chrysler (now part of Stellantis), impacting multiple manufacturing facilities across the United States. Furthermore, this labor dispute made political history when President Joe Biden became the first sitting U.S. president to join striking workers on a picket line just two days ago.
Addressing UAW members at GM's Willow Run redistribution center in the vicinity of Detroit, President Biden acknowledged the pivotal role played by union workers in rescuing the automotive industry during the 2008 financial crisis. He emphasized that these workers had made significant sacrifices during the industry's turbulent times and argued that, given the current prosperity of the companies, the workers should share in that success.
It's worth noting that Tesla, along with Rivian and Lucid, remains non-unionized, despite previous attempts to organize labor. In 2017, UAW made efforts to unionize employees at Tesla's Fremont plant in California, but the initiative failed to gain sufficient traction for a vote. Additionally, another union campaign at Tesla's Buffalo, New York factory was halted in February, with the Workers United union accusing Tesla of terminating numerous workers who had participated in the campaign.