What Happened: In a pointed message on its website, the UAW urged non-union autoworkers to join and “win economic justice.”
UAW President Shawn Fain emphasized this call in a video, directing attention to the vast wealth of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the richest person globally with a net worth of $230 billion.
Fain challenged the prevailing conditions, stating, “The money is there. The time is right. You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. You don’t have to worry about how you are going to pay your rent or feed your family while the company makes billions.”
Japan’s Toyota, despite announcingfor U.S. workers, faced UAW criticism. The union pointed out that Toyota, the 2022 best-selling automaker globally, had garnered a quarter of a trillion dollars in profits over the past decade, with profits rising 30%, and a staggering 125% increase in CEO pay.
Beyond Tesla and Toyota, the UAW aims to unionize workers at major automakers like Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes–Benz, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, Rivian, Lucid, and Volvo, collectively employing around 150,000 U.S. workers.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) commended the UAW’s efforts, stressing the essential role of a robust trade union movement in enhancing and fortifying the middle class.
“We cannot expand and strengthen the middle class without a vibrant, strong and growing trade union movement,” he said on X.
Why It Matters: Notably,by the UAW’s simultaneous strike against the “Detroit Big Three” in mid-September, and Musk, a staunch critic of unions, was both vocal and critical on social media platforms like X.
Musk, last year, derided the UAW slogan as “Fighting for the right to embezzle money from auto workers!”
During the strike, he asserted that Tesla paid, albeit with higher performance expectations.
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