Last month, United States Labor Secretary Marty Walsh paid a visit to Gigafactory Texas to speak with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The official’s visit to Giga Texas was quite surprising considering the Biden administration’s reported reservations about the CEO.
Reports of the visit simply mentioned that Musk and Walsh talked for over an hour, covering topics such as inflation, innovation, and job creation. Since then, very few details of the official’s visit to the Texas-based electric vehicle factory were shared. That is, at least, until recently, when Walsh was asked about his conversation with Musk during an interview.
While speaking with Yahoo! Finance, Walsh was asked whether Musk was really serious about the idea of Tesla adopting a unionized workforce. The Labor Secretary noted that while he and Musk did not talk about unionization much, the Tesla CEO did state that if the company’s workers would like to unionize, then he would love to have those conversations.
“I was out there a couple of weeks ago. We talked about the economy, we talked about manufacturing, we talked about a whole bunch of things, and I did ask the question about unionization, and he certainly said that he’s not opposed to it. He said this: if the workers were interested, he’d love to have those conversations.
“I didn’t go too much into the unionization of his plants. We talked more high level about the economy. I was asking him some questions; I was asking about inflation and supply chain and all the manufacturing and what he sees in his factories, so we talked about all those issues. We had a good conversation, and hopefully, we’re gonna have another one at some point soon just to continue the dialogue,” Walsh said.
Walsh also shared some thoughts on Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas, which he noted was extremely impressive. However, the Labor Secretary admitted that he was actually most interested in Elon Musk’s work with Neuralink, which has the potential to help people with diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. The idea of developing solutions that can help people recover from life-altering injuries is, according to the Labor Secretary, something that truly interested him.
“I’ll tell you he’s built an amazing facility there. Ten million square feet. It’s one of the biggest buildings I’ve seen and it’s challenging building. He built it on basically a landfill, so we talked about that. You know, the culture of how he thinks about a company. So we just we touched a lot of different issues.
“I really focused on the medical side of his company as well, about what the research is on helping people that have been in accidents, paraplegics and potentially MS, and things like that. I was really interested to talk about what his company is doing. There’s really some innovative things, and you know, I was really glad to talk about that. I know it’s a little different from being the Secretary of Labor, but I got intrigued about it. Just really thinking about how we can help people recover their functions with their bodies after an injury after an accident,” Walsh explained.
Walsh’s full interview with Yahoo! Finance and his comments on his talk with Elon Musk can be viewed below.
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