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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2 of 31 comments
  • 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.

  • VX1NG I find it funny that this cutting edge electric pick-up truck still has a mast-style antenna. While there’s no disputing their better performance the mast-style antenna does look very out of place for a vehicle built in 2024. I wonder how many new vehicles still have these style antennas?
  • The Oracle Volvo & Mack Truck, still Swedish owned by AB Volvo, are demonstrating that European wage and benefits are available in the U.S.
  • Lou_BC Lightning Flash? Seriously? I'm shocked. This will generate much static from the usual suspects. Some will get a charge from it. Others a discharge.Resistance is futile? Gotta chant to calm down: Ohmmm Ohmmm Ohmmm
  • Lou_BC "Barra accused the UAW of having no real intent of making a deal with the industry" Seriously? I guess it's so obvious. They just want to sit around basking in your hotness ;)
  • TheEndlessEnigma Where's the Tassos rant?!