- Leaders seeking to unionize Tesla employees held a rally at the company’s Fremont, California, factory on Tuesday. The group denounced recent firings at Tesla and accused the company of targeting workers who previously complained about working conditions at the factory. A Tesla spokesperson rejected the union supporters’ claims but said the company “respects their right” to protest. A number of Tesla employees were fired earlier this month after a round of performance reviews, as the company struggles to ramp up Model 3 production.
Leaders seeking to unionize Tesla workers demonstrated at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, on Tuesday afternoon in protest of recent firings at the company.
The group, which included some fired workers and community leaders, delivered a letter to Tesla denouncing the firings, accusing the company of targeting employees who complained about working conditions at the factory, and asking that those employees be reinstated.
“We see Tesla as an important company for our regional economy, employing thousands of workers in the extended Bay Area who are proud to be building a zero-emission electric car,” the pro-union letter reads in part. “Given its importance, we expect Tesla to be a responsible employer that leads with fair treatment of its workers.”
The letter goes on to cite a formal complaint the National Labor Relations Board filed against Tesla in August that alleged the company violated workers’ rights by discouraging efforts to unionize.
Here’s video of Tuesday’s pro-union demonstration:
A Tesla spokesperson responded to the demonstrations Tuesday night in an email to Business Insider, saying in part: “At Tesla, we strive to be a fair and just company, the only kind worth being. No one at Tesla has ever or will ever have any action taken against them based on their feelings on unionization.”
“Some employees recently left Tesla, but what has not been reported is that a much larger number – 17% of our employees – were promoted, and almost half of those promotions were within our factory in Fremont.”
Earlier this month, scores of Tesla employees were fired after a round of performance reviews, the company said. The timing of the firings raised alarms because Tesla missed its September production goals for the newly released Model 3, Tesla’s first mass-market electric car. The company produced just 260 Model 3s in September, falling far short of its stated goal to crank out 1,500 that month.
Tesla said it wants to ramp up to 20,000 Model 3s per month by December, a goal that seemed unlikely as the company struggled with “production bottlenecks” related to the new entry level car.
Read the pro-union group’s full letter to Tesla below:
“We write you as members of the communities of the Bay Area to express deep concerns about the firings of hundreds of Tesla employees in recent weeks.
We see Tesla as an important company for our regional economy, employing thousands of workers in the extended Bay Area who are proud to be building a zero-emission electric car. Given its importance, we expect Tesla to be a responsible employer that leads with fair treatment of its workers. Among the fired workers are people who have raised their voices with concerns about health and safety risks, fair pay and the right to organize free from intimidation, and we are concerned that these workers may have been unjustly fired for doing so. We are calling for reinstatement of these workers and fair treatment for all employees.
Our concerns about the mass firings are deepened knowing that the National Labor Relations Board has alleged that Tesla has hindered workers in the exercise of their right to organize and speak out. Moreover, we find the mass firings surprising given that Tesla is in “production hell” and has fallen behind its stated goals for producing the Model 3.
We want to help Tesla succeed in building the cars of the future. We believe the best way to achieve that goal is to collaborate with its workers and the broader community in ensuring good, safe jobs where workers can fulfill their potential without intimidation.”
Read Tesla’s full statement below:
“At Tesla, we strive to be a fair and just company, the only kind worth being. No one at Tesla has ever or will ever have any action taken against them based on their feelings on unionization. Some employees recently left Tesla, but what has not been reported is that a much larger number – 17% of our employees – were promoted, and almost half of those promotions were within our factory in Fremont. We are a company where people can be promoted as quickly as their talents and work allow. It is not unexpected that union supporters would protest any decision we make, including this one, and we respect their right to do so.”