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AOC questioned over Tesla purchase as UAW strikes near third week


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was questioned for her decision to buy a Tesla rather than an electric vehicle from a brand that employs union workers as labor strikes against Detroit automakers entered their tenth day.

The Democratic Socialist congresswoman, who has famously clashed with Tesla CEO Elon Musk online, pledged last year to trade in her Tesla for a union-made EV, but apparently has not gotten around to it.

“Our [Tesla] was purchased during the pandemic … before a vaccine had come out,” the congresswoman who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx told CBS News’ “Face The Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan on Sunday.

“So travel between New York and Washington — the safest way that we had determined was [a Tesla] EV, but that was prior to some of the new models coming out on the market that had the range available,” she added.

“We’re actually looking into trading in our car now.”


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to buy a car from non-union company Tesla rather than an electric vehicle from a brand that employs organized labor came under scrutiny over the weekend.
Face the nation / CBS

Ocasio-Cortez, a supporter of Green New Deal legislation to combat climate change, expressed similar sentiments last year, telling Bloomberg News: “At the time [she bought the Tesla in 2020], it was the only EV that could get me from New York to Washington on like one, or one-and-a-half charges.”

“I would love to switch.”

If Ocasio-Cortez were to follow through on her vow to rid herself of a Tesla in favor of a union-produced EV, she would need to opt for either a Chevrolet Bolt, the Bolt EUV, or the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

In April of last year, Musk, the world’s richest person with a net worth valued by Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $228 billion, took to his social media platform, X, and playfully pleaded with Ocasio-Cortez to “stop hitting on me” because he was “really shy.”

Musk responded to post from Ocasio-Cortez, who wrote about “some billionaire with an ego problem” — though she later insisted she was talking about Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“I was talking about Zuckerberg but ok,” AOC shot back at Musk before deleting the response about a minute later.


The left-leaning Democratic Socialist pledged last year to trade in her Tesla for a union-made EV, but apparently has not gotten around to it.
The left-leaning Democratic Socialist pledged last year to trade in her Tesla for a union-made EV, but apparently has not gotten around to it.
Getty Images

The United Auto Workers union expanded its strike against major carmakers on Friday, walking out of all 38 parts-distribution centers operated by General Motors and Jeep and Ram owner Stellantis in 20 states but sparing Ford from further shutdowns.

Ford avoided additional strikes because the company has met some of the union’s demands during negotiations over the past week, UAW President Shawn Fain said during an online presentation to union members.

Analysts have said that Musk’s Tesla is the biggest beneficiary of the work stoppage that has halted production in Detroit.


“Our [Tesla] was purchased during the pandemic … before a vaccine had come out,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Sunday.
“Our [Tesla] was purchased during the pandemic … before a vaccine had come out,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Sunday.
Brigitte Stelzer

“In this crucial period of EV execution, model rollouts, distribution, marketing, with EV competition rising across the board, the timing could not be worse,” according to Daniel Ives, a senior analyst for Wedbush.

“The clear winner in this ‘Game of Thrones’ battle … is Musk and Tesla with champagne now on ice,” Ives said.

Musk, who derives most of his wealth from the majority stake that he owns in Tesla, weighed in on the UAW strike, bragging: “We pay more than UAW btw, but performance expectations are also higher.”


Ocasio-Cortez said that at the time she bought her Tesla, there were no other electric vehicles that had the range that enabled her to travel from New York to Washington, DC.
Ocasio-Cortez said that at the time she bought her Tesla, there were no other electric vehicles that had the range that enabled her to travel from New York to Washington, DC.
AP

“Quite a few of our factory techs who work on the line have become millionaires over the years from company stock grants,” according to Musk.

Tesla pays between $45 and $50 per hour for labor whereas the Detroit Big Three pay between $64 and $67 per hour — factoring in wages, benefits and profit sharing, according to Axios.

Musk’s car maker is also famous for not relying on suppliers for the parts to make EVs — keeping the entire manufacturing and assembly process in-house at the company’s Fremont, Calif., and Texas factories.


Ocasio-Cortez famously clashed last year with anti-union Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Ocasio-Cortez famously clashed last year with anti-union Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
REUTERS

This has allowed Tesla to close the gap with its Detroit-based competitors and rapidly scale up its mass production of its Model 3, Model S and Model Y series of sedans.

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