Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) could very well be “the next battleground” for the UAW after this Fall’s strikes with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, according to Dan Ives of Wedbush. The analyst also said that the automaker’s battle with Scandinavian unions, especially in Sweden, has highlighted a potential for unions in the U.S. to target it, hoping Tesla will be the next unionized car company in the country.
Unions have been one of the focal issues of 2023 in the automotive sector. Ford, GM, and Stellantis just had a multi-week conflict with the UAW that halted production and saw workers indirectly related to production lines, like hauler drivers, join in acts of solidarity.
Tesla has unfortunately found itself in the same situation in Sweden, as the union is trying to force the automaker to sign a collective bargaining agreement. Tesla maintains that its workers have as good or better work benefits without the union.
However, other unions have decided to partake in actions that hurt Tesla in Sweden. Everything from unloading Teslas at nearby ports to picking up the company’s trash has stopped, all in an effort to force the company to make a move it probably will not end up making.
The big picture involving Tesla and unions is starting to catch the eye of analysts, including Ives, who is a tech analyst bullish on Tesla. Ives holds a $310 price target and an ‘Outperform’ rating on the stock, but he is well aware of what the unionization process could bring and how it could complicate the automaker’s U.S. performance, where it is most dominant.
Although Ives writes in a new note to investors that the UAW is very unlikely to succeed in a battle with Musk and Tesla, it is important to recognize that the current situation in Sweden highlights the potential for this issue to spread:
“While the Scandinavian situation is a contained situation that Tesla is battling, it’s an important lightning rod issue around unions globally. With the Shawn Fain-led UAW battle vs. Detroit, which results in GM, Ford, and Stellantis giving in to union demands, the next battleground could be Tesla. We continue to believe it’s very unlikely that unions will have success going after Musk and Tesla in 2024 given its current DNA and anti-union culture.”
The issue to Ives lies in whether Tesla decides to concede to the Swedish union. If it does, he believes it sets somewhat of a precedent for other unions to try and establish terms within Tesla in various regions. If not, it may help the automaker in future unionization attempts, which are likely coming, especially in the U.S., as Fein said after negotiations with Ford, GM, and Stellantis that it would be “the big five or six” in a few years, instead of the current “Big Three.”
“This speaks to why this current dispute and how Tesla handles it politically speaking/negotiations within Sweden is an important issue for the ramifications down the road Musk & Co. might face with other unions globally in this current climate. We will be watching this situation carefully over the coming weeks/months.”
Tesla shares are up just under two percent at 10:45 a.m. on the East Coast.
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