Elon Musk took a shot at the United Auto Workers (UAW) today after a report revealed that an ex-official of the organization pleaded guilty to embezzling $2.2 million from its members. Tesla’s lack of acknowledgment from President Joe Biden, who has given unionized firms like GM the nod of being “the leader in electrification,” has prompted Musk to chastise the UAW for years.
In a Tweet, Musk, who has been the CEO of Tesla since 2008, said the UAW’s motto is “Fighting for the right to pilfer money from auto workers!” “The UAW cheated workers out of millions of dollars, while Tesla has made many employees billionaires” (via stock grants). Musk continued, “It’s a little but significant improvement.”
Musk has previously chastised the UAW, dating back to May 2018. In comparison to the UAW, Musk claims Tesla has a superior record of employee treatment. “There is nothing preventing the Tesla crew at our vehicle facility from voting for a union.” If they wanted, they could do it tomorrow. But why should you pay union dues and give up stock options if you don’t have to? In 2018, the CEO said, “Our safety record is 2X better than when the factory was UAW, and everyone now receives healthcare.”
More recently, Musk urged the UAW to conduct a vote at Tesla’s Fremont facility in Northern California “at their leisure.” “Tesla will do nothing to stop them,” Musk stated after detailing the bad job climate in the Bay Area, which encourages people to go for work elsewhere if they aren’t properly rewarded. “…if we don’t treat and reward our (amazing) employees appropriately, they will go since they have so many other options!”
UAW Local 412, which represents around 2,600 Stellantis workers in the Detroit region, is the most recent target of Musk’s ire.
Timothy Edmunds, a former UAW Local 412 secretary-treasurer, pled guilty on Friday to one count of embezzling union funds and one count of money laundering. Edmunds “systematically depleted” the Local’s bank accounts, totaling $2.2 million.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, he used the labor group’s credit card for personal expenditures, such as cashing local checks and moving money into personal accounts. According to Reuters (via AutoBlog), Edmunds apparently purchased firearms, automobiles, and gambled, then used the money to pay child support. Edmunds’ spending habits and unlawful expenditures were discovered by the union, which handed the information over to federal authorities.