Sunday, 1 October 2023

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Elon Musk’s Tesla is the ‘clear winner’ of UAW strike

Elon Musk's Tesla is the 'clear winner' of UAW strike

President Joe Biden is caught between a rock and a hard place as autoworkers strike against Detroit’s Big Three U.S. carmakers: Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler). 

Biden, who has touted himself as the most pro-union and greenest president ever, is struggling to balance his commitments to organized labor and to the production of eco-friendly electric vehicles (EVs) in the key election battleground state of Michigan. Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk—who is poised to profit from Detroit’s struggles and seize even more market share—is probably sitting back and laughing because he and the president are far from friends. 

Biden long refused to acknowledge Tesla’s dominance in the EV market given its status as a non-unionized company and Musk’s outspoken stance against organized labor. (Last year, Musk even dared the UAW to try to organize at Tesla, but implied that they’d fail because his workers are compensated and treated “well.”) In 2021, the White House hosted an EV summit, inviting executives from the Big Three and snubbing Tesla, and thereby Musk. In January 2022, Biden met with GM CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley to discuss spending legislation, once again overlooking Musk. 

The billionaire lashed out on then-Twitter, the social media platform now known as X since Musk purchased it in October 2022, saying “Biden is a damp [sock] puppet in human form.” The next month, CNBC reported that the White House had no plans to invite Musk to future meetings, fearing that he would do or say something embarrassing.

“Biden has pointedly ignored Tesla at every turn and falsely stated to the public that GM leads the electric car industry,” Musk told CNBC in response. 

But that has changed in the past year as Tesla’s dominance has become increasingly difficult to ignore. 

‘Champagne on ice’

John Podesta and Mitch Landrieu, both senior advisors to the president, hosted Musk at the White House in January to discuss the implementation of EV initiatives. Weeks later, Tesla announced that it would open its charging stations to owners of non-Tesla cars in exchange for federal funding—a move by the White House to speed the adoption of EVs.

GM and Stellantis, as well as BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Mercedes, announced in July that they would build “high power” charging stations. But the current hodgepodge network of EV chargers is often unreliable or in bad locations, which…

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