Tesla could be set to benefit from potential strikes against the auto industry’s “Big 3” in the coming weeks, if negotiations are not completed by an upcoming contract deadline.
Employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union are approved to strike if demands are not met by the current contract’s September 14 deadline, potentially costing a fortune for Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis. Upcoming strikes could be slated to significantly benefit Tesla, especially as traditional automakers work to catch up to the company’s dominance in the electric vehicle (EV) market.
The UAW has requested that the big three grant workers a 46-percent pay raise, restore traditional pensions, and shift to a four-day work week while keeping to a five-day wage level. As Axios reporter Nathan Bomey pointed out in a recent video segment with Yahoo News, “Tesla would be the big winner if there’s a big strike.”
In response, the big three have noted increasing competition from Tesla and automakers outside the U.S., arguing that the union’s demands are not realistic. The UAW approved strikes against Ford, GM, and Stellantis late last month, amidst concerns that a transition to EV manufacturing could risk a significant loss of jobs at the companies.
Alternatively, Bomey explains that Tesla could also stand to win out if the automakers agree to the pay increases since a union does not represent the company. He also questions whether the UAW could attempt to organize Tesla workers again following negotiations with the big three. Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk invited the UAW to hold votes to unionize its Fremont, California factory, saying that he wouldn’t stop them.
In the past, most UAW negotiations have targeted a single company at a time, only striking if the parties cannot reach a deal. If a deal wasn’t reached, the union would then approach the other two automakers to attempt to negotiate. This time, however, significant speculation remains that workers could hold a strike against all three automakers at the same time.
AP News reports that a single 40-day UAW strike in 2019 cost GM $3.6 billion. Strikes could also drive vehicle prices upward, at a time when Tesla has put pressure on other automakers through several price cuts made this year.