Tesla workers battle anti-union Musk

Published on May 4, 2024

Tesla, the electric vehicle company founded by Elon Musk, has faced scrutiny over its labor practices and its opposition to unionization efforts. 

At Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York, on February 14, 2023, workers in Tesla’s Autopilot Division declared their intentions to unionize which, if successful, will become the first union within the Tesla Corporation. 

The Tesla workers are fighting for their right to organize a union, to have a democratic workplace, and to have a voice on the job. They are demanding that management sign the Fair Election Principle, and negotiate for better wages, to decrease high quota demands, and reduce constant management supervision, and more. 

The Autopilot division has an estimated 800 workers who analyze data to assist self-driving software in cars. According to CBS News, Keenan Lasch, one of the campaign organizers, stated “We are paid far less than the national average for our job title and have next to no sick time. We are only asking for a seat in the car that we helped build.”

 After they announced their intentions, Tesla was accused of firing the employees that were attempting to unionize. Around 30 employees were dismissed in retaliation under the guise of performance reviews. New York State is an “at will” state which allows employers to lawfully fire employees without a reasonable cause, except for an illegal reason. Federal law bars companies from firing workers for union activities. 

 Arian Berek joined the unionization efforts due to increased demands by management. “If you have to go to the bathroom or have some kind of emergency, you can get penalized,” Berek said. The workers are tracked through their keystrokes for performance and monitored very heavily. “Similar to the aspects of the Amazon warehouse,” she added.

The Workers United union branch in Rochester, NY, asked the National Labor Relations Board to reinstate the unlawfully fired Tesla workers with back pay. Tesla responded to their complaint by putting a statement on their website calling it a false allegation. Workers at Tesla have joined hands with workers at hundreds of Starbucks stores in seeking to affiliate with Workers United.

For further information you can go to this linktree: https://linktr.ee/teslaworkersunited

by Alexander Lau