In a recent conversation with Tesla frontman Elon Musk, United States Labor Secretary Marty Walsh talked about unionization. He reiterated that Musk was not supposed to unionize the automaker’s workforce if the employees do not show any interest. They also talked about the economy and manufacturing.
“We had a good conversation,” Walsh said in an interview with Yahoo! Finance Live. “We talked about the economy and manufacturing. We talked about a bunch of things. I did ask the question about unionization. He certainly said he is not opposed to it. He said if the workers were interested, he would love to have the conversations.”
Musk Tweeted recently that he was not opposed to the United Auto Workers union (UAW) coming to Tesla’s Fremont factory in Northern California to hold a vote. “I’d like hereby to invite UAW to hold a union vote at their convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them,” Musk said. Walsh’s comments essentially mirror those of Musk’s Tweet, which was published on March 3. Musk has maintained for some time that Tesla treats its employees well; well enough that none of them would support unionizing at the factory. “Our real challenge is Bay Area has negative unemployment, so if we don’t treat and compensate our (awesome) people well, they have many other offers and will just leave!” Musk stated.
Critical of unionization for several years, Musk most recently commented on the case of a $2.2 million embezzlement scheme by a former UAW treasurer in Detroit. Musk said earlier this week that the UAW’s slogan is “Fighting for the right to embezzle money from auto workers! The UAW stole millions from workers, whereas Tesla has made many workers millionaires. Subtle, but important difference,” Musk commented. Walsh and Musk’s meeting was among the first acknowledgments of Tesla by the Biden Administration. Musk, along with Tesla enthusiasts, have regularly called out Biden and other political figures for ignoring the company’s contributions to the global electric vehicle market.
A former secretary-treasurer of UAW Local 412 in Detroit pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds and money laundering. Timothy Edmunds, the former secretary-treasurer, “systematically drained” the Local’s bank accounts, which amounted to about $2.2 million. Walsh visited Tesla’s new Gigafactory Texas earlier this month. “It’s an amazing facility there, 10 million square feet. It’s one of the biggest buildings I have seen,” Walsh said. “It’s challenging though, he built it on basically a landfill. We talked about that. We talked about the culture of how he thinks about a company. We talked about a lot of different issues.”