A battle between two automotive companies heated up this week with comments from the CEOs over employee wages and benefits.
What Happened: General Motors Co GM CEO Mary Barra was interviewed by Andrew Sorkin in early November at Dealbook. The interview is making its way around Twitter Inc TWTR thanks to comments the CEO made about Tesla Inc TSLA.
Sorkin asked Barra if it was fair that a new proposal from the U.S. government would offer additional incentives for union-made electric vehicles.
“The bill is set up to incentivize what the country is looking to build, a strong middle class,” Barra said.
The GM CEO said that it isn’t fair that early electric vehicle companies are penalized, including General Motors, which has used up all of its credits.
Sorkin said it appears that Tesla non-union employees make more than union workers for GM.
“It appears by my math that on average, Tesla employees, who are non-unionized, appear on an hourly basis may be making more money than unionized workers for example at GM,” Sorkin asked Barra.
Barra dismissed the notion and added that other factors like benefits and health care have to be considered in the comparison.
“I would have to see that information,” Barra said.
Barra said she is proud of GM working with the United Auto Workers union and it has helped the company make great strides in electric vehicle production.
Sorkin pushed Barra further on Tesla and the fact that the company isn’t invited to have a seat at discussions on growth of electric vehicles by the White House.
“I have no idea, I’m not in charge of the guest list.”
Barra told Sorkin she would rather talk about General Motors than Tesla.
Musk Responds: A video shared on Twitter of the interview caught the attention of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Musk said that Tesla workers, who are non-unionized, get paid more on an hourly basis than workers at General Motors. Musk also said the Tesla workers get benefits like health care and Tesla stock.
“This is true. Also Tesla employees get health insurance, stock & other benefits,” Must wrote on Twitter in response to Sorkin’s calculations of higher wages at Tesla.
Musk recently took offense to President Joe Biden crediting Barra and GM for leading the electric vehicle revolution and making no mention of Tesla and its strong EV market share in the U.S.
“You electrified the entire auto industry. You led,” Biden said of Barra.
Tesla, along with Toyota Motor Corp TM and Honda Motor Co HMC, has been vocal about a new incentive that would award additional tax credits to electric vehicles that are made in unionized factories.
Tesla and Musk have faced anti-union claims in the past and been accused of violating labor laws. Musk was ordered to delete a tweet that said Tesla workers would have to give up TSLA stock options if they joined a union.
GM, TSLA Price Action: TSLA shares were up 0.23% at $1,139.62 Tuesday afternoon. GM shares were down 2.94% at $58.08.
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