The nation has been on edge in the past two weeks as it watches the showdown between the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against the Detroit Three automakers– Ford Motor Co., General Motors (GM), and Stellantis.
This historic confrontation involves fair labor disputes against these big three automotive companies, and the repercussions are being felt far and wide. They've even impacted Tesla and the electric vehicle industry.
A new survey from Extreme Terrain reveals exactly how the American public views Tesla’s role in this labor movement and what that means for the future of transportation. In this survey, 1,013 American car owners participated, with 33% owning vehicles from the brands involved in the UAW strike.
The purpose of the study was to gain insight into what the American public thinks about the ongoing UAW strike.
Strong Support for UAW Objectives
Nearly four in five (79%) of participants said they support the strike's goals. This is a remarkable level of support from the general public and indicates the growing sentiment in favor of workers’ rights and improved labor conditions in the automotive and other industries.
A Belief That The Strike Will Bring Positive Changes
73% responded that they believed the UAW strike would bring positive changes to the industry. The people hope that this strike will serve as an example to other sectors that improved labor conditions are necessary for everyone, not just the workers in the auto industry. This labor action could be a turning point in history where workers’ voices carry more weight than ever before.
Tesla's Unintended Role
So, where does Tesla come into play in all of this? While Tesla is not involved in this UAW labor dispute because it is not unionized, it has found itself in the spotlight. Tesla’s success in the electric vehicle market has raised questions about how Tesla’s success will impact traditional automakers and their labor disputes.
36% of Americans believe that Tesla’s rise is due to the current strike. Tesla has been a force in fully electric vehicles since their first Roadster rolled out in 2008, and along with hybrids like the Toyota Prius, forced American automakers to scramble to keep up with the EV revolution.
Interestingly, almost half (47%) of Americans think this strike will influence and lead to the unionization of Tesla autoworkers. This would have a far-reaching impact on Tesla. There have been numerous reports on how Elon Musk feels about Tesla workers unionizing.
In 2018, Musk tweeted, “Nothing is stopping [the] Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so [tomorrow] if they wanted. But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when [the] plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.”
The implication seeming to be that his workers have everything a union could provide, so they don't need one. But others took this as a threat.
Elon was taken to court over this tweet, with his adversaries accusing him of threatening to take away stock options if his workers were to unionize.
The judge ruled that “because stock options are part of Tesla’s employees’ compensation, and nothing in the tweet suggested that Tesla would be forced to end stock options or that the UAW would be the cause of giving up stock options, substantial evidence supports the NLRB’s conclusion that the tweet is as an implied threat to end stock options as retaliation for unionization.”
Regardless, support for unions is strong. 26% of people polled by Extreme Terrain say they would be more willing to buy a Tesla if the company were unionized.
Americans Ready to Panic-Buy a New Car
Nearly 10% of participants share that they plan to “panic buy” a car from one of the Detroit Three automakers anticipating inventory shortages and likely price hikes.
Detroit Three Looks Like The Villain in The Story
The UAW strike also paints Ford Motor Co., General Motors, and Stellantis as the bad guys in these negotiations. The strike has led 40% of Americans to have a more negative perception of these automakers.
How will these perceptions influence the market? Only time can tell how the automotive giants will have to adapt to the changing landscape of the automotive industry.
Almost All Gen-Z Supports, but Only Half of The Baby Boomers Do
One of the most interesting findings that this study revealed is the generational gap in opinions. Almost all of Gen Z (91%) support the UAW strike objectives, while only 54% of baby boomers agreed with the objectives. The generational divide highlights the evolving attitude toward labor issues and worker rights in the younger generation.
While the UAW strike may be against the Detroit Three, it is turning out to have far-reaching implications that extend to Tesla and beyond. Though the overwhelming support for the strike’s objectives reflects an increasingly positive sentiment in favor of workers’ rights and improved labor conditions, only the outcome of this strike can determine the change that will occur in the future for the automotive industry.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Research journalist, Freelance writer, Managing Editor
- Expertise: automotive content, trending topics.
- Education: LeTourneau University, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
- Over 400 articles and short news pieces published across the web.
Experience: Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion.
Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.