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Tesla is accused of breaking labor laws with firings and surveillance by union, Tesla denies

Tesla has been facing several unionization efforts at the Fremont factory and at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo. It’s ramping up at the latter as the union is accusing the automaker of breaking labor laws over firings and surveillance.

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

Tesla and Panasonic are producing solar cells, panels, and roof tiles at the factory.

The automaker inherited the plant through its acquisition of SolarCity.

As per the last report, 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.

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

Yesterday, the union filed with the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) to accuse Tesla of preventing unionization efforts through firings and coercive actions.

The allegations are listed below, but the full filing is not accessible yet:

  • Discharge (Including Layoff and Refusal to Hire (not salting))
  • 8(a)(1) Coercive Actions (Surveillance, etc)

We contacted Tesla about the allegations and the company said that they are “without merit.”

A company spokesperson wrote:

“Tesla greatly values our employees at our Buffalo facility, and respects their right to organize. The ULP allegation is without merit and we will be responding as part of the NLRB process.”

When some workers first announced their intentions to campaign to unionize, Tesla had the following response:

“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.”

We will follow the situation and report back when more information is available.

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