Elon as Rescuer? Not for GM Workers, Barra Says

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
elon as rescuer not for gm workers barra says

Shortly after General Motors announced its decision to end assembly work at two car-producing U.S. plants, Tesla CEO Elon Musk floated the possibility of a Silicon Valley rescue of either Detroit-Hamtramck or Lordstown Assembly.

Talks between GM and Tesla did occur, it turns out, but GM CEO Mary Barra doesn’t seem to think much of the chances of laid-off employees finding salvation in a Tesla intervention.

Speaking at an investor’s conference Friday, Barra said there had been a dialogue between the two automakers over use of GM’s soon-to-be-mothballed plants. However, the strong presence of the United Auto Workers in the Rust Belt — a union Musk openly despises — apparently brought the convos to a halt.

“There have been conversations in the past,” Barra said, according to USA Today. “But Tesla’s not interested in our workforce represented by the UAW, so really it’s a moot point.”

Musk doesn’t mince words when talking about the UAW. The Tesla co-founder blames the union for GM’s historic downfall and recession-era bankruptcy; meanwhile, Tesla workers in favor of unionization of Fremont’s workforce claim the CEO will do anything to keep UAW’s hands off his plant. Musk counters with the argument that, with proper pay and working conditions, no worker should desire union membership.

In a 60 Minutes interview in early December, Musk said of GM’s plants, “It’s possible that we would be interested. If they were going to sell a plant or not use it that we would take it over.”

Earlier, GM, as part of a sweeping streamlining effort, announced the discontinuation of six car models (Chevrolet Impala, Cruze, and Volt, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac XTS and CT6) and the closure of the three plants building them. The plants go dark by the end of 2019. According to Canadian autoworkers union Unifor, the automaker has no plans for returning product to Ontario’s Oshawa Assembly. As for Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown, GM hasn’t had much to say about the plants’ future.

Whatever that future is, Tesla likely won’t be a part of it.

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  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Jan 14, 2019

    To bad GM still went ahead with building the new Mexico assembly plant for the Chevrolet Blazer.

  • Akear Akear on Feb 11, 2019

    Tesla is around to make us feel better about the US auto industry. I guess Tesla proves there are American cars people really want. In the last decade GM and Ford have brought nothing but shame to America.

  • Fahrvergnugen NA Miata goes topless as long as roads are dry and heater is running, windscreen in place.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic As a side note, have you looked at a Consumers Report lately? In the past, they would compare 3 or 4 station wagons, or compact SUVs, or sedans per edition. Now, auto reporting is reduced to a report on one single vehicle in the entire edition. I guess CR realized that cars are not as important as they once were.
  • Fred Private equity is only concerned with making money. Not in content. The only way to deal with it, is to choose your sites wisely. Even that doesn't work out. Just look at AM/FM radio for a failing business model that is dominated by a few large corporations.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Lots of dynamics here:[list][*]people are creatures of habit, they will stick with one or two web sites, one or two magazines, etc; and will only look at something different if recommended by others[/*][*]Generation Y & Z is not "car crazy" like Baby Boomers. We saw a car as freedom and still do. Today, most youth text or face call, and are focused on their cell phone. Some don't even leave the house with virtual learning[/*][*]New car/truck introductions are passé; COVID knocked a hole in car shows; spectacular vehicle introductions are history.[/*][*]I was in the market for a replacement vehicle, but got scared off by the current used and new prices. I'll wait another 12 to 18 months. By that time, the car I was interested in will be obsolete or no longer available. Therefore, no reason to research till the market calms down. [/*][*]the number of auto related web sites has ballooned in the last 10 to 15 years. However, there are a diminishing number of taps on their servers as the Baby Boomers and Gen X fall off the radar scope. [/*][/list]Based on the above, the whole auto publishing industry (magazine, web sites, catalogs, brochures, etc) is taking a hit. The loss of editors and writers is apparent in all of publishing. This is structural, no way around it.
  • Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.