“If Tesla joins a union, it will be because we deserve it and because we failed.”
The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced that workers at more than a dozen automakers have simultaneously launched campaigns across the United States to join the union. Automakers targeted by the UAW include Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Tesla, Rivian and Lucid.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk didn’t take it well. Asked about the UAW’s plans, Tesla’s CEO said the electric car maker treats its employees well, so it doesn’t see a need for a UAW presence at its factories.
“If Tesla goes into a union, it will be because we deserve it and because we failed,” Musk said. He added that Tesla gives its employees the opportunity to become millionaires through stock options and advance their careers to management positions.
Elon Musk against unions at Tesla factories
“But we certainly try our best to ensure everyone thrives. We give everyone stock options. We made a lot of people millionaires who were just working on the assembly line and didn’t know what stocks were,” he said.
Musk noted that unions tend to create “adversarial relationships” between groups in companies: “Unions naturally try to create negativity in the company and create a kind of master-peasant situation.”
At Tesla factories, Musk said, workers and management eat at the same table and park in the same parking lot. Musk has in the past opposed unionization at Tesla’s U.S. factories, including the company’s first vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California.