- The United Auto Workers has filed an official complaint that says Tesla fired workers for attempting to unionize. Some workers at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California started a unionization effort at the beginning of 2017. The complaint comes after Tesla fired hundreds of employees for performance-related reasons.
The United Auto Workers, a labor union, has filed another complaint against Tesla, claiming the company fired workers who were trying to unionize, among other things.
This is the second unfair labor practice complaint filed by the UAW in the last six months. The most recent spate of charges were filed on Wednesday at the National Labor Relations Board’s office in Oakland, California.
The October complaint levies six charges against Tesla, including terminating employees to discourage unionization efforts and terminating or disciplining employees in retaliation for attempting to unionize. Some workers have been leading a unionization effort at Tesla since the beginning of 2017.
“No one at Tesla has ever or will ever have any action taken against them based on their feelings on unionization,” a Tesla representative wrote in an email statement. “It’s worth remembering that each year, roughly 20,000 [unfair labor practices] are filed with the NLRB by unions like the UAW as an organizing tactic.”
Tesla has confirmed it fired an undisclosed number of employees in early October, stating that the terminations were due to annual performance reviews. Reuters reports that at least 400 employees were fired across the company, ranging from “associates to team leaders to supervisors.”
Some employees who were fired have said they didn’t receive poor performance reviews prior to their termination.
A former worker on Tesla’s assembly line told Reuters he was fired despite never receiving a negative review. Former employees at Tesla’s solar offices told CNBC they hadn’t gotten an annual review before they were let go.
The UAW alleges in its complaint that some Fremont factory workers were fired because of their attempts to unionize. The NLRB will now investigate the claims and choose to either file for an injunction, withdraw the complaint, or call for a hearing.
The NLRB filed an official complaint against Tesla in August, saying the company violated workers’ rights by suppressing unionization efforts. That complaint was based on three charges filed in April by the UAW and former employees.
Tesla must appear at a hearing before an NLRB administrative law judge in Oakland that will begin November 14. Tesla has faced six other NLRB charges, which were either withdrawn or dismissed.
Tesla’s performance-review related terminations came as the company has struggled to ramp up production for its Model 3, the company’s first mass-market sedan. The electric automaker produced 260 sedans in the third-quarter; it had initially planned to manufacture 1,500 in September and ramp to 20,000 per month by December.
CEO Elon Musk blamed the shortfall on “production bottlenecks.” Tesla reports its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
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