Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is Making the American Auto Industry Great Again

Jeff Siegel

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted February 14, 2017

Unions are like having herpes. They won’t kill you, but they’re unpleasant and inconvenient, and they stop a lot of people from becoming your lover.

Oh, how I wish it were me that came up with that brilliant quote. But that honor goes the co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM), John Mackey.

A staunch Libertarian with a deep hatred for big government, socialist policies, and free market foes, Mackey is also a sort of cult figure to the legions of organic food consumers who embraced the organic food movement long before Wal-Mart and Amazon started carrying organic avocados and kombucha.

As a Libertarian myself, I’ve always found Mackey to be a pretty inspirational person, as he was one of the first multimillionaire CEOs to unapologetically embrace real free markets while not wanting to treat the planet like a toilet. And I also like the fact that he never bowed down to the bullying tactics of so many union thugs.

From a Union Family

I actually come from a long line of union supporters, as most of the men in my family used to work at the old steel mills in Baltimore.

Back in the day, unions were like second families. They were communities of like-minded individuals that utilized the basic fundamentals of solidarity to negotiate decent wages and safe working conditions.

So when I don’t speak glowingly of today’s modern unions, I do get a lot of uncomfortable stares from some of my uncles and cousins. But how can I speak glowingly of something that’s turned into little more than a well-funded hustle?

One of my closest friends from college became a high school math teacher. He was essentially forced to join the union, which meant he was forced to pay dues, even if he didn’t want to be involved with the union.

One of my cousins works at one of the ports in Maryland. His union negotiated such a sweetheart deal that he says sometimes he gets paid just to sit at a table for eight hours. Great for him, but not so much for the company that has to pay him for doing nothing.

Understand, I’m not saying all organized labor is evil or even unnecessary in certain situations. However, when unions use their power to steal from workers (because forcing someone to pay union dues is theft), or cause individual companies to make decisions that are not in the best interests of the company’s bottom line, there’s a problem. So when I read last week that the United Auto Workers (UAW) had its sights set on Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), I was floored.

The Sweatshop Illusion

Last week, a Tesla employee named Jose Moran posted an article on Medium.com, writing…

Most of my 5,000-plus coworkers work well over 40 hours a week, including excessive mandatory overtime. The hard, manual labor we put in to make Tesla successful is done at great risk to our bodies.

Preventable injuries happen often. In addition to long working hours, machinery is often not ergonomically compatible with our bodies. There is too much twisting and turning and extra physical movement to do jobs that could be simplified if workers’ input were welcomed.

In case you’re wondering why manufacturing jobs are leaving the country, there’s your reason.

And in case you’re wondering why no wall will ever keep out undocumented workers, there’s your reason.

The truth is, getting a job at Tesla is a huge achievement. So many people want to work for Elon Musk that they’re more than willing to forgo a few extra bucks while working a few extra hours. To be a part of the Tesla team is to be a part of history. Quite frankly, Moran should be grateful that he’s part of that team. And mark my words: if the UAW sinks its hooks into Tesla, Tesla shareholders and Tesla customers are going to end up on the losing end.

Musk said it best when he responded to the complaint…

Tesla is the last car company left in California, because costs are so high. The UAW killed NUMMI (the former GM-Toyota plant) and abandoned the workers at our Fremont plant in 2010. They have no leg to stand on.

Today, without a union, Tesla employees get up to 15 days of vacation per year, health insurance, stock options, merit-based awards, 401(k)s, dental insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, maternity and paternity leave, bereavement leave, free snacks and lunches, and a 25% discount on Tesla vehicles.

Wow, that sounds horrible. A real sweatshop!

Moran also wrote in his column that most Tesla production workers earn between $17 and $21 an hour, while the average autoworker in the U.S. earns $25.58 an hour. Which begs the question, if the pay scale is “unfair,” then why not pick up one of those higher-paying jobs?

Truth is, I don’t see the UAW making much headway into the Tesla camp. Most Tesla workers are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a team that is changing the world for the better.

And what sets Tesla apart from all the other automakers is its ability to deliver technologically superior products that result in a level of quality that no other carmaker in the U.S. has ever been able to deliver. All of which, by the way, have been infected with the union bug.

Elon Musk isn’t a genius because he showed the world that electric cars could be taken seriously. He’s a genius because he took what was a dying industry and made it great again.

Tesla is a shining example of how a U.S. car manufacturer can successfully compete in an incredibly competitive global marketplace. I would hate for it to be dragged down by the oftentimes unreasonable demands of the UAW.

To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth…

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Jeff Siegel

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Jeff is the founder and managing editor of Green Chip Stocks. For more on Jeff, go to his editor’s page.

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