The United Auto Workers strike against the Big Three earlier this year led to some massive — and well-deserved — gains for the workers that actually build GM, Ford, and Stellantis’s cars. The folks over at Tesla, though, appear uninterested in such benefits — at least, according to the handful that spoke with Business Insider, who are kind of hoping their personal hustle will get noticed by Elon Musk.
Business Insider leads with the fact that UAW workers will earn $35 more per hour in total compensation — inclusive of pay and benefits — than their compatriots at Tesla. Oddly, this is couched as a cost to the company rather than a benefit to the workers, but such is the world of business (I went to college for it, I should know). The piece goes on to quote some Tesla workers about just why they want to do more work for less money:
The company also likely knows how to weed out pro-union employees, three workers said.
“That kind of person probably wouldn’t even make it through the interview process,” a Tesla engineer said.
The electric-car maker and its CEO aren’t exactly known for being union-friendly. The company has been accused of prohibiting workers from wearing union paraphernalia and unlawfully terminating employees who sought to unionize. Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board alleged that Tesla laid off dozens of workers at its Buffalo New York site after the employees had announced plans to unionize. Similarly in 2021, the NLRB ruled that Tesla and Musk “unlawfully threatened” the workers hoping to unionize in 2017 and ordered the company to rehire a union activist worker it had fired even after Tesla attempted to appeal the decision. The group said Tesla “interrogated” employees involved in the effort and ordered Musk to delete a tweet it deemed “anti-union.”
Tesla’s attitude towards unions has been antagonistic to say the least. Layoffs at the company have long been accused of really being thinly veiled anti-union activity, and that trend of behavior has never stopped. Are Tesla’s workers simply too hard-working, too eager to please, to ever join up with the United Auto Workers? Or have workers that know their worth simply given up on the company?
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