Tesla Strives to Avoid German Strike and Maintain Model 3 Production Date

It’s no secret that the success of Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 will dictate its position as a mainstream automaker for the foreseeable future. Tesla’s current status as the most valuable carmaker in the United States is riding, almost entirely, on the problem-free assembly of its “affordable” EV this summer. So, when one of its German suppliers threatened to go on strike earlier this month, you can imagine the series of panic attacks CEO Elon Musk probably suffered.

Last week, the company’s recently acquired industrial robotics unit Grohmann began labor negotiations over insufficient wages and Tesla’s decision to suspend all contracts that didn’t pertain specifically to the Model 3. And, to ensure things went his way, Musk has become directly involved in the process.

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Union Vaccine: Elon Musk Promises Free Frozen Yogurt and Roller Coasters to Employees

With his employees showing a growing interest in unionization, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shot off a lengthy email to staff urging them to forgo joining the United Auto Workers. While the UAW has romanced Tesla’s growing workforce for years, a recent — and highly publicized — blog post written by an employee expressed renewed concern over the company’s treatment of its workforce, as well as his hope to see them join the labor federation.

Musk initially reached out to the press to defend his company and is now appealing to workers directly, refuting allegations about subpar wages and condemning an earlier investigation into worker safety. “After looking into this claim, not only was it untrue for this individual’s team, it was untrue for any of the hundreds of teams in the factory,” he wrote.

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Tesla Could Have Trouble Meeting Its Looming Production Targets

After posting a profitable fall quarter, Tesla returned to spending more than it made. However, its fourth quarter losses, announced on Wednesday, were substantially less than originally assumed by analysts. The electric carmaker’s stock price continued to climb during the final three months of 2016, despite losing $448 million from its operations.

Tesla has been throwing a lot of money at projects and acquisitions. It recently purchased SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering, so going into the red was to be expected. However, the dark cloud looming in the distance isn’t related to capital — it’s about production.

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Tesla, the Worker, the Union, and the Bill That Can't Help Elon Musk

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk knows a unionized workforce would add another variable to his lofty, carefully crafted production plans, and an unpredictable one at that: labor strife.

Until now, the electric automaker’s top boss has fended off the possibility in a progressive-sounding way, but a simmering unionization movement, which reared its head this week, shows no signs of abating. Since the appearance of a scathing blog post written by a Tesla assembly plant worker, Musk has found himself on the defensive. A paid union agitator, Musk claimed, wrote the post to rile employees. Then the UAW jumped into the fray.

Now, it’s one big battle. Musk likely wishes a recently introduced bill to amend the National Labor Relations Act was on his side.

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As Tesla Plant Shows Early Signs of Unionizing, Musk and UAW Trade Blows

Some employees at Tesla Inc.’s Fremont, California factory have been moving ahead with efforts to unionize. Fronting that campaign is Jose Moran, who claims to have worked at the plant for the last four years. He and other disgruntled Tesla employees have reached out to the United Automobile Workers, claiming they work long hours for low pay under unsafe conditions as the company pursues aggressive production deadlines.

While Tesla’s CEO has responded with his own claim that Moran was paid by the UAW to join his company and proselytize for a union, the organization promptly refuted that suggestion by accusing Tesla of spreading dreaded “fake news.”

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TTAC News Round-Up: China Brings Long-Dead German Automaker Back From the Grave

Although it would been cheaper to build elsewhere, the Chinese-resurrected Borgward has opted to return to its hometown of Bremen for its new factory. Not only is the Germany company back after a half-century absence, China is also giving it a proper homecoming.

That, time is running out for Ford as union strike date nears, Toyota invests in a future of needing fewer cars, and Alfa’s Giulia is changing shape… after the break!

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No Turkey for Fiat Chrysler, Unifor as Monday Strike Deadline Looms

Canada, as the New York Times helpfully points out, actually celebrates Thanksgiving (!), but bargaining teams from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and autoworkers union Unifor won’t get to enjoy it.

The two groups are expected to bargain down to the last minute as contract talks approach Monday night’s strike deadline, the Windsor Star reports. Unlike recent bargaining between Unifor and General Motors, the FCA negotiations have been whisper quiet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t action happening behind the scenes.

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Fiat Chrysler Next in Line for Contract Talks; Brampton Assembly a Major Bargaining Point

After securing hundreds of millions of dollars in investments from General Motors and a new lease on life for the Oshawa assembly plant, Canadian Detroit Three autoworkers union Unifor is sharpening its bargaining pens to tackle Fiat Chrysler.

Today, the union identified the automaker as the company next in line to hammer out a contract deal with. After the GM deal, FCA will need to promise something big, and that could mean a commitment to an aging plant filed with aging models.

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At Volkswagen, Labor Knives Come Out for Herbert Diess

Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess has a target on his back, now that the union representing the automaker’s workers has made its distrust of the company public.

Labor union IG Metall slammed the company’s management in a letter published on its website, stating the company was using the diesel emissions scandal as a way of cutting staff, according to Bloomberg.

The union said it wants assurances from Volkswagen brass that layoffs aren’t coming down the pipe, and implied that Diess’ job is in danger if he doesn’t agree to protect employee positions.

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More Ford Production Heads South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

In an announcement that’s been anticipated for months, Ford Motor Company said today it will build a small car plant in Mexico’s San Luis Potosi state.

Ford will spend $1.6 billion on the facility, which starts construction this summer and will employ 2,800 workers by 2020.

The automaker isn’t saying what vehicles it will produce at the plant, but it’s widely expected that the Focus will move to Mexico after production stops at its Wayne, Michigan facility in 2018. Offshoots of the platform, including a rumored hybrid, could also be produced.

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Fiat Serbia Workers Demand Higher Wages, Get Chicken Discount

The union representing workers at the Fiat 500L factory in Kragujevac, Serbia has a big job ahead of it. Workers are demanding raises, bonuses, and a steady work schedule. In its most recent newsletter, the union listed those demands once again, but instead of news of a pay negotiation the union told workers they’ve negotiated a chicken discount at a local butcher.

Samostalni Sindikat FAS has represented workers at the 500L factory since their collective bargaining agreement was signed in 2010. At the time, the union was able to negotiate fair wages and additional benefits for workers, including a 31,000 RSD ($294 USD) monthly average salary. Workers were happy as many were unemployed after Yugo production was shut down in 2008, and the wage was considered fair at the time.

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Canadian General Motors Plant Hit By Wildcat Strike

A wildcat strike at GM’s CAMI plant briefly shut down the assembly plant where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are produced.

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Brazilian Truth Commission May Sue Auto Makers For Crimes Against Humanity

João Paulo de Oliveira found it hard to find another job after he was fired by Rapistan, a Michigan-based conveyor belt maker, in 1980. He was detained or arrested another five times until the Brazilian military dictatorship, that had successfully realized a coup d’état in 1964, and returned power to civilians in 1985. Oliveira claims that no other company would hire him after he lost his job, and hge was constantly threatened by police. His crime? Being a union member at a time the military considered strikes as subversive communist movements.

Oliveira declares that he and many other union members suspected that private companies, including many auto makers collaborated with the state’s repressive forces. Apparently, his suspicions have been borne out.

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How The UAW Could End Up Representing Volkswagen Workers

Despite losing a vote on organizing workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, the UAW could end up representing Volkswagen workers through its newly formed Local 42, with the end goal being the establishment of a works council at Chattanooga.

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VW Labor Leaders Fight To Establish U.S. Works Council

While the United Auto Workers take their battle to bring their brand of organization to Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. before the National Labor Relations Board, VW’s labor leaders are regrouping in their fight to establish a works council in the U.S. plant.

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  • Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
  • Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
  • Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
  • El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.