Tesla employees in the US have every reason to worry about their jobs since the boss himself announced a wave of layoffs. Now 30 workers at the Buffalo plant are losing their jobs for trying to form a union.
Tesla is said to have laid off more than 30 employees at its Buffalo plant this week, according to workers at the US electric car maker, after they announced their intention to establish the first US union representation at the company. In a memorandum to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency that protects the agency rights of private company workers, Tesla workers said the layoffs at the plant's Autopilot division were in retaliation for the union organizing drive.
More than two dozen workers sent a letter to Tesla management on Tuesday, announcing their intention to form a union and urging the company to reassure workers that there would be no negative consequences. The union Workers United Upstate New York filed a complaint with the US Labor Rights Administration (NLRB). The dismissed workers received an email saying they were forbidden from recording meetings in the workplace without the consent of all participants. The union said it was illegal.
Tesla boss Elon Musk has made no secret of his aversion to unions in the past. In 2018, he threatened on Twitter that Tesla employees would lose their stock options if they unionized. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
At the end of December, insiders revealed that Tesla was facing new job cuts. The internet magazine Electrek reported that there could be a wave of layoffs in the first quarter of 2023. There will also be a hiring freeze, it said. In the summer, Musk announced that around ten percent of the jobs would be cut within three months.