What Tesla’s union-busting trial means for the rest of Silicon Valley

In some sense Tesla’s union question is an existential one: is Tesla a tech company or a car company? Car companies tend to have strong unions, while tech companies do not.

Musk runs Tesla like a tech company. Tesla’s done a top-to-bottom redesign of cars, and of the factory workflow. There are sudden pivots, and plenty of investment, despite a lack of profit — so far, so tech. Then you have the cars themselves: have to charge their batteries, the company can push over-the-air software updates to your car and totally change how it works, and uh they’re hackable. But they’re still cars: they go on roads, you drive them, and in most states you are legally compelled to buy car insurance for them.

Unions do exist in tech, though mostly among...

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