Elon Musk’s Tesla denies ‘retaliatory firing’ for union campaign by employees

Earlier this week, workers at Tesla’s Buffalo plant said they planned to form a union with Workers United Upstate New York.

Elon Musk’s Tesla has denied claims it fired workers who tried to unionize in New York state. The company said in a blog post that the decision to lay off his 27 employees for “poor performance” was made on his Feb. 3, at least 10 days before the union movement was announced. The company added that it later realized that one of the 27 workers affected was an “official” part of the union plan.  

Earlier this week, workers at Tesla’s Buffalo plant said they planned to form a union with Workers United Upstate New York. The Autopilot facility employees alleged that the workers were terminated after a mail was sent to Musk detailing the union campaign and requesting to sign the Fair Election Principles, which would prevent Tesla from threatening staff. The Workers United Upstate New York union in a filing with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) stated that Tesla was striking back against union activity. The organisers claimed that ‘over 30 workers’ were fired and a new rule was introduced that bans recording workplace meetings without the approval of all participants.

On Wednesday, the carmaker had informed that 4% of its 675 member Autopilot labelling team in Buffalo will be sacked. These employees had failed to show improvement despite receiving negative feedback on their performance, Tesla argued. Conducted every six months, employees are marked 1 to 5 during each performance review cycle. Employees who don’t match the expectations will be let go and managers were apprised in December that non-performers will have to leave from February 12th, Tesla said. The most recent performance review cycle was from July 2022 through December 2022.

The union organisers said that more people are likely to be added to the fired list and they were still determining if the laid off workers were directly or indirectly connected to the campaign.

Musk has made no bones about his blatant disapproval for unions in the past and has invited trouble for his anti-union outbursts.

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