- Tesla reportedly fired several employees at its Gigafactory in New York who publicly showed their interest in forming a union.
- The Workers United union has filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board, claiming that the firings were illegal and an attempt to discourage union activity.
- It is unclear how many employees at the factory are in favor of unionising as workers will have to eventually vote on the matter.
Tesla appears to have fired dozens of workers at its Gigafactory in New York for publicising their interests in unionising. Recall that the employees had sent a letter to CEO Elon Musk about their demands and plans on Tuesday.
However, the electric car makers reaction was not a sit-down as one would expect. In a report, The Verge mentioned that the laid off workers had taken part in labour discussions and one of them was on the organising committee.
The Workers United union, which is backing the the disgruntled Tesla workers, filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in reply. It claimed that the firing were illegal and was done to discourage any form of union activity at the company.
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In the US, retaliation against organising unions in a company is an offence and a judge can force the employer to take back the workers and pay them backpay.
Tesla did not say why it laid off the workers but on Wednesday, after the employees’ letter surfaced, the company issued a statement about employees’ duty to protect the confidentiality, integrity and security of the business. It is not clear if the layoffs would be tied to employees breaking clauses in their contract.
With more than 1,900 employees at the Tesla Buffalo plant, according to The Business Journals, it is not clear exactly how many of them are in favour of unionising. This number is important because when it all comes to the fore, workers will eventually have to vote.
Tesla can do with the bad publicity at this time as it is just recovering from losing over 60% of its valuation in 2022.
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