The United Auto Workers (UAW) has been leading efforts to unionize Tesla’s Fremont factory for the better part of two years and the union spent over $400,000 last year alone on its “Tesla Campaign”, according to their own filings.

Evidently tired of the claims made by the union, Tesla CEO Elon Musk now suggests that the automaker could itself push for a vote in order to show that its workers don’t want to be part of UAW.

In the past, UAW President Dennis Williams said that they were “respecting Tesla’s startup status”, but they started seeking to get involved apparently since Tesla started increasing its production capacity with the Model 3 and growing its workforce at the Fremont factory with it – now with about 10,000 employees.

The UAW has since sent organizers to Tesla to spur the unionization effort.

They spent over $130,000 in hotels alone around the Tesla factory and it was also believed that they brought in outside union activists for demonstrations at the factory – pictured above.

The filing also confirms that the UAW spent $52,200 for renting space in Fremont, near the factory – confirming that they have a significant effort in place to try to unionize Tesla’s workforce.

With this said, the effort doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, which the UAW attributes to Tesla allegedly impeding attempts to promote the unionization effort at their factory. The union filed an official complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which Tesla called “baseless”.

Now in a tweetstorm over the last day, Musk went on a rant against UAW in which he accused the untion to have contributed to the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler:

There were many factors that led to the bankruptcies of those two automakers, but some analysts agree that the UAW contributed with their pension obligations getting out of control.

Musk seemed particularly frustrated with a series of articles from Reveal, which he believed was pushed by UAW activists:

At one point, Musk even appears to indirectly call them ‘wak ass liar[s]’:

Reveal denies that its articles about Tesla were influenced, but a lot of their content reflects what the UAW has been pushing, including in their Facebook group about their effort at Tesla.

Musk’s tweetstorm ended with him suggesting that they will hold a vote and find out if Tesla workers actually want to unionize:

Musk has publicly pushed back against unionization efforts before – saying that their interests “are not aligned with Tesla’s mission to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy” and he bets workers will choose Tesla’s stock options over union dues.

The automaker successfully avoided a German union push at its advanced automation group last year by employing a similar approach.

About the Author