UAW has Tesla Workers in its Crosshairs

A Tesla factory worker says he wants to form a union. Tesla says he’s a salt who is being paid by the UAW to organize the company from within. According to the worker, the company “doesn’t function as well as it could” He claims employees work long hours, face excessive mandatory overtime, and are prone to injury. He also said Tesla workers are underpaid compared to the high cost of living in the San Francisco bay area.

According to a statement by Tesla, “This is not the first time we have been the target of a professional union organizing effort such as this.… We have a long history of engaging directly with our employees on the issues that matter to them, and we will continue to do so because it’s the right thing to do.” Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla is on record saying that his company is “union neutral,” that mandatory overtime is “dropping almost every week,” and “total compensation is higher for a given level of seniority when factoring in stock grants.”

Musk continued: “Our understanding is that this guy was paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union. He doesn’t really work for us. He works for the UAW.”

Interestingly, the worker could not be reached for comment by CNNMoney who was investigating the situation because “he was working his shift” according to his spokesman. His spokesman? Since when do factory workers have spokesmen? When they’re salts?

To rub salt in this wound (bad pun intended), the worker’s spokesman, Bergen Kennedy, is employed by Storefront Political Media, a communications firm representing the UAW. Yet Brian Rothenberg, UAW spokesperson, said he could not describe, specifically, the ways in which the union is supporting the worker. “We always provide assistance to workers who are interested,” he said.

Matt Austin who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.

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