President Joe Biden did not invite Tesla CEO Elon Musk to a summit about electric vehicles, and it may have been because the firm does not have unionized workers.
Executives from General Motors, Ford, and other firms joined Biden at the White House on Thursday as he unveiled a reversal of “the previous administration’s short-sighted rollback of vehicle emissions and efficiency standards.” News outlets — and Musk himself — were apparently surprised that Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer, was not asked to be involved.
“Yeah, seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited,” Musk commented via Twitter early Thursday morning.
During her Thursday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked why Tesla was apparently snubbed. She heavily implied that Tesla’s lack of unionization was the primary factor behind the administration’s decision.
“Well, we, of course, welcome the efforts of all automakers who recognize the potential of an electric vehicle future and support efforts that will help reach the president’s goal. And certainly, Tesla is one of those companies,” said Psaki as recorded by Fox News. “Today, it’s the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers, and the UAW president who will stand with President Biden as he announces his ambitious new target, but I would not expect this is the last time we talk about clean cars, the move toward electric vehicles, and we look forward to having a range of partners in that effort.”
When asked if Tesla was omitted because it was not unionized, Psaki repeated that attendees included “the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers.”
“I’ll let you draw your own conclusions,” she added.
Indeed, President Biden repeatedly lauded the United Auto Workers during his remarks at the ceremony:
We need automakers and other companies to keep investing in America. We need them not to take the benefits of our public investments and expand electric vehicles and battery manufacturing production abroad. We need you to deepen your partnership with the UAW, continue to pay good wages, support local communities across the country.
That’s why I’m so proud the UAW is standing here today as well. It’s why I am proud that the three largest employers are sitting here and their sights are set not only on electric vehicles, but on expansion — expanding union jobs, expanding the middle class. It matters.
However, one electric vehicle YouTuber noted on Twitter that Musk could have a seat at the table if he had “moved Tesla manufacturing to Mexico like Ford did.”
“Apparently good paying American jobs, making 100% Electric vehicles isn’t enough to be shown as an example of how other manufacturers should behave?” he continued.
Musk replied: “Irony indeed.”