Is Tesla’s Ongoing Battle With UAW About Working Conditions, Or Automation?

For the past few months, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of news stories alleging poor working conditions and treatment of staff at Tesla’s only U.S. automotive production facility. Located in Fremont California, the large facility — formerly known as the NUMMI production facility — began Tesla Model S production in 2012, and has gradually been increasing its output since, adding Model X to the production line in late 2015 and, more recently, the Model 3.

On the surface, these allegations are part of an ongoing spat between Tesla and the United Auto Workers union, which seeks to unionize Tesla’s workforce with the goal of improving worker’s salaries, working conditions and collective bargaining rights. Tesla denies the allegations, and claims that UAW is the source of many of the more incendiary news stories making headlines in local, national and international media.

But is it really about Tesla’s workforce? Or is it about Tesla’s plan to make its factories as autonomous as possible?

We think it is — and we explain why in the video above.

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