Members of the United Auto Workers union are on strike, with thousands walking out of three plants in Missouri, Michigan and Ohio this morning, as negotiations between the UAW and the “big three” — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — reach a tipping point.
The walkouts mark the first time in history that the UAW has struck against all 3 of America’s unionized automakers simultaneously. The action comes after the union’s demands for more pay, fewer working hours, a return to previous pension provisions and cost-of-living adjustments were dismissed by the big 3. The latest demand, a 36% pay rise, suggests that the two negotiating sides remain far apart on the big issues.
Although it's not the main factor at play, the switch to electrification is an important part of the discussions. Tesla’s workforce, for example, is not unionized — and there’s growing concern that, because EVs require fewer parts than their combustion engine counterparts, they may require fewer assembly workers in the future.
Interestingly, the data suggests that Tesla isn’t (yet) as labor efficient as its peers. Tesla’s rapid growth saw it deliver 1.3 million vehicles last year — roughly 10 deliveries for every Tesla employee. Jeep-and-Chrysler-owner Stellantis delivered 22 cars per employee, Ford managed 24.5, and GM delivered nearly 6 million vehicles with a workforce of ~167,000, or 35 deliveries per employee.