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Tesla is facing another unionization effort, this time at Gigafactory 2

For the past few years, Tesla has been facing a unionization effort at Fremont factory and now they are facing another one as workers at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo started a new campaign to unionize the solar factory.

Gigafactory 2 is a 1.2 million-square-foot facility located in Buffalo, New York.

Tesla inherited the plant through its acquisition of SolarCity.

Last month, Tesla released a rare look inside Gigafactory 2 with solar roof tile production images.

Tesla and Panasonic are just now starting to ramp up production at Gigafactory 2, where the former produces its solar roof tiles and the latter produces solar cells and modules for Tesla.

They have over 800 employees at the factory and they are looking to expand the workforce significantly in the coming months to support a production ramp.

Today, several employees gathered outside the factory to announce that they are launching an effort to unionize led by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers.

Katie Alexander from local WIVB TV news covered the gathering:

Some reported that the crowd grew to as many as 300 workers and union representatives.

They said that they also plan other demonstrations after their next shifts:

As part of the deal with the state that Tesla inherited from SolarCity, they have to comply with several employment requirements.

The company says that it pays Gigafactory 2 employees $16.20 an hour on average and they receive stock options and other benefits.

Update: A Tesla spokesperson sent us the following statement about the situation

“Tesla greatly values its employees and the direct relationship it has with them at our Buffalo facility. We offer wages and benefits that exceed those of other comparable manufacturing jobs in the region, and we recently increased our base pay even further. In addition, unlike other manufacturers, every single employee is an owner of Tesla, as everyone receives stock upon hire and for good performance, which results in significantly more compensation beyond our already high wages.

Other factories are shutting down in the US and we still have a long way to go to make Gigafactory 2 financially sustainable. Nevertheless, we continue to do everything we can to keep exceeding our commitments to jobs and business in Buffalo.

Today’s demonstration consisted almost entirely of groups outside of Tesla, not Tesla employees. And ultimately, it’s up to our employees to decide if they want to be unionized. While we will never please everyone outside of Tesla, we have an unwavering commitment to providing a great workplace for our employees. That’s what matters.”

Electrek’s Take

The unionization effort at Fremont factory has become quite nasty and bad for Tesla, but that’s mostly because of the UAW, which even warned that the electric vehicle revolution is going to result in job loses.

I don’t know enough about the electrical workers and the steelworkers unions to know if it’s going to be better or worse than the situation at Fremont factory.

Like anyone with a brain, I think workers should be fairly compensated and treated well. If that’s not the case at Gigafactory 2 and a union can help, I am all for it.

That said, Gigafactory 2 is just starting out and it’s far from its final form, which might not be the best moment to unionize.

But that’s just my 2 cents. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section.

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