The local labor organization Tesla Workers United claims that many workers at a Tesla factory in Buffalo, New York, were fired a day after beginning union organizing activities (TWU).
According to a release from the group on Thursday, the workers were informed via email on Wednesday night about a new policy that forbids them from recording meetings at work without the consent of all attendees. It claimed that these limitations defy both federal labor laws and the one-party permission law for recording conversations in New York. “We’re upset. We won’t be slowed down by this.
This won’t deter us, said Sara Costantino, a member of the organizing committee and a Tesla employee, in a prepared statement. “They want us to be terrified, but I believe that they have just sparked a stampede. This is something that we are capable of. But I’m confident that we’ll succeed.
The Tesla plant, which manufactures solar panels and other forms of renewable energy technology, is not far from the Starbucks Corp. location where employees voted to form a union last year.
The Tesla workers’ demands were “unfair, unrealistic, vague, and continually changing,” according to TWU, who also deemed the firings to be unacceptable.
“I feel completely unprepared; I received COVID, left the office, and then had to take a bereavement leave. Arian Berek, a member of the organizing committee and one of the sacked employees, said in a statement, “I returned to work, was assured I was exceeding expectations, and then Wednesday came along.
“I firmly believe this is payback for the committee announcement, and it’s disgraceful,” the speaker said. The National Labor Relations Board has received a complaint against Tesla from the Rochester Area Joint Board of Workers United, alleging unfair labor practices on the part of the electric vehicle manufacturer.
The organization included a list of names in the lawsuit for several of the dismissed workers who worked in the factory’s autopilot division. The organization claimed that it thinks Tesla “terminated these individuals in reprisal for union action and to discourage union activity.” It requests injunctive relief from the federal regulatory body “to prevent irreparable damage of employee rights stemming from Tesla’s wrongful conduct.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on Thursday that “the president supports fundamental rights for workers under the National Labor Relations Act, including the right to organize free from intimidation or coercion” without specifically mentioning the circumstance at the Tesla Buffalo plant.
In a statement to management on Tuesday, the Tesla Workers United organizing committee stated that the Buffalo workers are looking for a voice at work and want to “create an even more collaborative atmosphere that will improve the firm.”
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union was invited to hold an organizing vote at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken a hard line against organized labor. In 2021, the National Labor Relations Board Tesla demanded that Musk remove a tweet from 2018 in which it said he had illegally threatened to deny employees their stock options if they opted to be represented by the UAW.
Although Tesla was emailed for comment, it has been widely reported that the company had eliminated its media relations division. As undeliverable, the email was returned.