Tesla Workers in New York State Launch Unionization Campaign

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) workers are once again getting the itch to unionize.

Bloomberg News on Tuesday reported that employees at Tesla’s Buffalo, New York, plant tasked with data labeling for the automaker’s Autopilot technology sent a letter to CEO Elon Musk notifying him of their intentions to unionize. In the letter, the workers identified that they are seeking increased wages, better job security, and most notably, the easing of production pressures which they say even prevents them from taking bathroom breaks thanks to constant monitoring of keystrokes on their work computers.

“People are tired of being treated like robots,” the union’s organizing committee member Al Celli told Bloomberg. “We have such a rush to get things done that I don’t know if it’s actually being well thought out,” they added. “It’s just, ‘Let’s get this out as fast as we can.’” There are currently over 800 employees tasked with analyzing Tesla’s Autopilot at the Buffalo factory, receiving a starting pay of approximately $19 per hour.

The workers’ unionization efforts are being expedited by Workers United affiliate Service Employees International Union, which is best known for its successful unionization of numerous Starbucks cafes across America over the past several years. The union is currently attempting to unionize about 1,000 manufacturing employees— in addition to the Autopilot workers— at Tesla’s Buffalo facility.

The workers unveiled plans to distribute Valentine’s Day-themed pamphlets that read “Roses are red, violets are blue, forming a union starts with you,” alongside a link where fellow employees can sign.

The Tesla employees have been talking about forming a union for several months on a Discord server, before putting together an organizing committee after the automaker shut down the informal chat channel. “I want a voice with my company — we don’t really have one,” one employee was cited as saying. “The voice we did have, they took away.” If the employees’ campaign becomes successful, it will be a first for Tesla, which has thus far suppressed union efforts at all of its US-based facilities.

As per US law, if the majority of a company’s employees agree to unionize, the firm’s executives can voluntarily bargain with the group. Contrarily, workers can also bring their case before the US National Labour Relations Board which will then hold an election; if the unionized group receives a majority vote, the company is legally obligated to recognize the union. Musk, for his part, has been adamantly against unions, arguing that they even control the Democratic party.

Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg and Twitter. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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