Workers at Tesla's Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York, have announced the formation of an organizing committee in the interest of unionizing their coworkers. The union has asked the US National Labor Relations Board to seek a federal court injunction to “prevent irreparable destruction of employee rights resulting from Tesla's unlawful conduct,” after they accused the company of illegally terminating employees “in retaliation for union activity and to discourage union activity.”
Organizers are looking for better pay, job security, and a reduction in production pressures that have been harmful to their health. Tesla has also disbanded its press-relations team in 2020, and CEO Elon Musk and the company's human resources chief did not respond to inquiries.
Al Celli, a member of the union's organizing committee, expressed, “People are tired of being treated like robots,” “I believe in Tesla, our mission, and the work I do at the company,” said Zahra Lahrache, who has worked at Tesla in Buffalo for five months. “As much as I love my job, it can feel very disheartening living paycheck to paycheck when I work for one of the most successful companies in the world, and that is why I am exercising my right to unionize.”
If successful, the organization, Tesla Workers United, would be the first union at the electric vehicle company, which until now has been able to avoid unionization. This campaign also represents a new test for the embattled US labor movement, which has recently notched a series of victories at longtime non-union firms, including Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Starbucks Corp.
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