United Auto Workers President Ray Curry recently revealed that he is yet to speak to Elon Musk about the possibility of Tesla holding a union vote. The idea of Tesla’s possible unionization came earlier this month after Musk invited the UAW to hold a vote at the company’s California plant.
“I’ve actually not talked to Mr. Musk or any representative of Tesla,” Curry said while speaking at a roundtable discussion with the Automotive Press Association on Tuesday. Curry covered several topics during his discussion, including how the electric vehicle transition would affect the UAW in the near future.
Curry also stated that if Elon Musk is serious about Tesla’s potential unionization, the company should rehire a union activist who was terminated in the past, and it must also stop attempting to overturn a ruling that it violated labor laws. Such actions, according to the UAW President, would be a “good faith effort” on Tesla’s part. It would also “demonstrate a commitment to the workers of the facility” at Tesla’s Fremont Factory in California.
The National Labor Relations Board has decided that the automaker violated labor laws when it terminated the employment of union activist Richard Ortiz, who was part of an organizing campaign called “Fair Future at Tesla.” The NLRB also took issue with a 2018 tweet from Elon Musk, which stated that while there is nothing stopping Tesla employees from voting union, it would result in the workers giving up their stock options. The NLRB ordered Musk to remove his offending tweet and rehire Ortiz, but the automaker is appealing the administrative court’s decision.
While Musk’s stance on the UAW has been known for a while, the CEO did extend an olive branch to the union earlier this month. While responding to KISS member Gene Simmons, who was urging US President Joe Biden to recognize Tesla’s workers despite them being non-union, Musk invited the UAW to hold a union vote at the Fremont Factory. Musk even assured the UAW that Tesla would do nothing to stop their efforts. “I’d like hereby to invite UAW to hold a union vote at their convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them,” Musk wrote.
Despite Musk’s open invitation, the CEO recently took a shot at the UAW after Timothy Edmunds, a former union official at a suburban Detroit branch of the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty to embezzling funds and money laundering. Prosecutors, who noted that Edmunds gambled away the money and spent some of the funds on guns, cars, and child-support payments, highlighted that defendant is the 17th defendant that has been convicted in an ongoing criminal investigation into corruption within the UAW.
In response to the news, Elon Musk noted on Twitter that the UAW should change its slogan. “UAW slogan – “Fighting for the right to embezzle money from auto workers!” Musk wrote, later adding that “The UAW stole millions from workers, whereas Tesla has made many workers millionaires (via stock grants). Subtle, but important difference.”
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