Social media

Biden’s denial of Tesla escalates on social media; Elon Musk is not happy

UAW Support

There’s no real mystery behind Biden’s antipathy toward Tesla, according to a person familiar with the president’s thinking. The president has long enjoyed the support of labor unions in his political campaigns, including the UAW.

And while Tesla employees enjoy generous pay and benefits, including equity at the automaker, Musk is hostile to unions and the company’s workers are unorganized. The UAW has made little headway in attempts to organize Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, which employs about 10,000 people.

“Fighting for their right to steal workers’ money!” Musk tweeted Nov. 10 in response to reports of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption of UAW officials.

Within Tesla, some executives feel it’s all politics: Biden will never win Texas, where Musk now lives, while Michigan – home to Ford and GM – and the support of the UAW are key to Democratic victories in both the upcoming midterm elections and in 2024.

Even some Biden aides say they wish the boss would warm to Musk’s company. “It depresses me as a happy Tesla owner,” one said. White House officials who spoke to the story all asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Last fall, after a White House event promoting electric vehicles that excluded Tesla, Musk said Biden was “biased” against the company and said his administration “appears to be union-controlled.”

Musk also downplayed a key Biden policy: the president’s proposal to restore a $7,500 per car tax credit for electric vehicles and eliminate the cap on the number of vehicles from a given manufacturer eligible for the credit. Tesla hit the initial EV tax credit limit in 2018.

‘Can all this bill can’

Biden’s proposal, however, comes with an anti-Tesla twist: Consumers would be entitled to an additional $4,500 if they purchased an electric vehicle assembled by unionized workers.

“Honestly, I would just box this whole bill,” Musk said of Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation in December, shortly before U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a key centrist Virginia Democrat -Western, killed the measure by withdrawing its support.

“Tesla has done some amazing things for electric vehicles and that’s a big part of why the whole industry now knows electric vehicles are the future,” White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons said in a statement. a statement to Bloomberg News.

She noted that Tesla had “benefited greatly” from electric vehicle tax credits in the past. “But, unfortunately, their CEO has suggested opposition to the new electric vehicle tax credits,” she said, without using Musk’s name.

Simons said Thursday’s event at the White House is for business leaders who support Build Back Better. GM’s Barra recently became chairman of the Business Roundtable, a lobby group in Washington that, like Musk, opposes Build Back Better. But Barra said she personally supports the measure.

Musk did not respond to an email seeking comment on this story.

Tesla, founded in 2003, manufactures all-electric vehicles at its plants in California and Shanghai. Last year, the company moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas, where it completed a new plant larger than the Pentagon.

Other pure-electric companies, including Lucid Group Inc. and Amazon-backed Rivian Automotive Inc., are also non-union — and Biden has said nothing about them either, according to a search of his public remarks. Like Tesla workers, Lucid and Rivian employees also receive stock options as part of their compensation.