Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Almighty Buck

Tesla Faces Labor Board Complaint Alleging Interference With Unionization (arstechnica.com) 147

According to Ars Technica, a federal labor board on Thursday "filed a complaint against Tesla, alleging that the electric vehicle company had discouraged workers from distributing pro-union information, stopped them from talking about employee safety to the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, and in one case, prevented an employee from taking a picture of the Confidentiality Agreement they had to sign." From the report: The Oakland, California-based regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) consolidated the complaints of three former Tesla employees, Michael Sanchez, Jonathan Galescu, and Richard Ortiz, as well as complaints made by UAW. The complaint alleges that on numerous occasions between February 2017 and May 2017, security guards and human resources agents working on behalf of Tesla told employees that they had to leave the Fremont, California, factory premises because they were distributing pro-union leaflets. In addition, one employee says that over the course of two meetings, a Human Resources Business Partner and an Environmental Health Safety and Sustainability Specialist "interrogated the employee about the employee's Union and/or protected, concerted activities," as well as the pro-union activities of other employees. In March, the complaint claims, a supervisor told his employees during a pre-shift meeting that they could not distribute any stickers or pamphlets that hadn't been approved by Tesla first, or they would be fired. In another incident, a Human Resources Business Partner allegedly "attempted to prohibit an employee from discussing safety concerns with other employees and/or with the Union."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tesla Faces Labor Board Complaint Alleging Interference With Unionization

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Musk has stated his support for universal basic income, to protect workers who would lose their jobs. It's easy to say that when it comes out of everyone's tax bills. Hiwever, when his workers want to form unions to protect themselves, his company is actively working to prevent them from exercising collective bargaining rights. What a hypocrite.

    • The UAW is basically acting like a mafia organization now. They do not want Tesla to succeed, because Elon Musk's eventual vision is to drastically reduce human presence on the manufacturing floor through unprecedented production automation. Right now, GM uses robots for frame assembly, but the assembly of the rest of the car is primarily done by humans. Tesla currently occupies the NUMMI plant, formerly a venture of GM and Toyota opened in 1984. It was shut down, in large part because it was unprofitable d

      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday September 02, 2017 @05:51AM (#55127981) Homepage

        There's shades of that in Tesla's response (which of course Slashdot, eternally lacking any sort of attempt to be balanced, did not post):

        "As we approach Labor Day weekend, there’s a certain irony in just how far the UAW has strayed from the original mission of the American labor movement, which once advocated so nobly for the rights of workers and is the reason we recognize this important holiday.

        Faced with declining membership, an overwhelming loss at a Nissan plant earlier this month, corruption charges that were recently leveled against union leaders who misused UAW funds, and failure to gain traction with our employees, it’s no surprise the union is feeling pressured to continue its publicity campaign against Tesla.

        For seven years, the UAW has used every tool in its playbook: misleading and outright false communications, unsolicited and unwelcomed visits to the homes of our employees, attempts to discredit Tesla publicly in the media, and now another tactic that has been used in every union campaign since the beginning of time–baseless ULP filings that are meant only to generate headlines. These allegations, which have been filed by the same contingent of union organizers who have been so outspoken with media, are entirely without merit. We will obviously be responding as part of the NLRB process.”

      • What you say is a crazy conspiracy theory. The UAW is in this to protect the existence of unions, which is about free speech and freedom of assembly and association. If Tesla weren't suppressing the union, the local worker's union is typically good enough to keep the UAW cronies out of the picture. Somehow companies don't understand that if they don't like the national unions, the best option is to allow, or even encourage, the locals to organize themselves, not forbid it. But most companies are set up
    • Musk has stated his support for universal basic income, to protect workers who would lose their jobs. [...] his company is actively working to prevent [workers] from exercising collective bargaining rights. What a hypocrite.

      There is absolutely nothing hypocritical about that. Unions were an absolutely necessary step in securing rights for workers, but now they protect the rights of their members and everyone else can go fuck themselves. (They occasionally spend a little money lobbying for an increased minimum wage, but only when their salaries are expressed as multiples of the minimum wage.) Meanwhile, the union administrators walk away with fat stacks of cash, and the unions themselves are still often under the influence of o

      • but now they protect the rights of their members and everyone else can go fuck themselves.

        And companies protect the rights of the owners and everyone else can go fuck themselves.

        Why are you against one form of collective bargaining (unions) but for the other (corporations)?

        Meanwhile, the union administrators walk away with fat stacks of cash

        So do large company executives.

        • Why are you against one form of collective bargaining (unions) but for the other (corporations)?

          Oh actually, I'm anti-corporation. I prefer co-ops. I think that corporations should actually have to justify their existence before being granted a charter, and show some evidence that they will do more good than harm by existing.

          • Oh actually, I'm anti-corporation. I prefer co-ops. I think that corporations should actually have to justify their existence before being granted a charter, and show some evidence that they will do more good than harm by existing.

            Hm OK, that's fair then.

    • I think Musk is more opposed to the leverage the other auto makers would have over the unions and their ability to interfere with Tesla's business than the notion of collective bargaining. If you look back at history the big automakers would utilize any lever they have (unions, parts makers, law makers, etc.) to keep out new entrats into the market.

      In order for Tesla to succeed they need to own their own destiny and not be at all dependent on anything the other automakers can influence.

    • Cool car.
      Whatever.
      Cool car.

  • robot overlords (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by zlives ( 2009072 )

    elon sometimes reminds me of bender, especially when he says "kill all humans"

  • PayPal (Score:1, Offtopic)

    Elon reminds me of PayPal, which I personally have never had any negative business experience with.

    To be one of the dot.bomb moguls who survived the explosion.....

  • No matter what industry it is, the bourgeois always want to curb worker’s protections and rights.
  • by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @06:12PM (#55126545) Homepage

    Without them we could enjoy the same unparalleled working conditions as Bangladeshi factory workers.

    • Re: Unions are bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2017 @06:18PM (#55126569)

      I've worked at union and non union auto manufacturers, including with Tesla, and unionizing is the worst option for both employer and employees. When you lose any motivation to work hard, the incentive to not be a lazy piece of shit disappears too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Calydor ( 739835 )

        No, that is just you having no professional pride.

        • I don't hate unions.

          I think they give employees leverage with businesses.

          I also think businesses have had a LOT of laws passed which limits the power of unions today (like industry wide strikes).

          That being said... I've *never* known a union person who worked as hard as non-union. And not from fear...

          Example

          Friend of mine was a non union plumber (yech ! Ptoo!)

          He shows up at a job site to install a line which requires a hole in a stud. They tell him, he has to wait until the stud hole driller gets back fro

        • Unfortunately, most people, if given the chance, will do only as much work as is necessary not to be fired. There has to be a balance somewhere between "Chinese sweat shop" and "person who was fired for on-premise illicit drug use gets their job back after a six-month fight with the union, with back-pay."
      • I've worked at union and non union auto manufacturers, including with Tesla, and unionizing is the worst option for both employer and employees. When you lose any motivation to work hard, the incentive to not be a lazy piece of shit disappears too.

        This "unions only protect the lazy" bullshit is dependent on the notion that not only are you going to be happy doing your own work, but your work plus Bob's down the hall whenever he feels like slacking off. No human is built that way - unless you're in an abusi

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

        When you lose any motivation to work hard

        That has nothing to do with union status, and everything to do with your personal character.

    • Without them we could enjoy the same unparalleled working conditions as Bangladeshi factory workers.

      Unions were necessary and were a force for protecting employees' interests.

      Unions now are primarily political action committees.

      As with anything else whose time has come and gone, they are hanging on, but they are clearly in their death throes. If the Tesla factory were in South Carolina or Tennessee, they could even roll out the red carpet for the union, secure in the knowledge that the employees themselves will defeat any attempt to unionize, because it doesn't do anything for them.

      • Re:Unions are bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @07:10PM (#55126767)

        Unions were necessary and were a force for protecting employees' interests.

        Unions act as a counterbalance to corporate greed. Has corporate greed disappeared? Have companies stopped killing their workers to save a few pennies on the dollar in profits? Have they stopped demanding their workers make huge pay and benefit cuts to up quarterly dividends - even as the company is enjoying all-time high profits?

        Unions now are primarily political action committees.

        Uh huh. And how do you propose they counterbalance the (infinitely more funded) political action committees from big business? You expecting them to unilaterally disarm as the latter engages in shenanigans like getting "small government" Republicans to override city-based minimum wage increases with state laws?

        • Unionism is a subset of the right to free assembly and is one of the underlying principles of democracy. This is a spin off of free speech, when enough people feel the same way about some aspect of culture that it needs to be changed, that is how it is changed. That's the point of free speech.

          It seems to me that many people are all for free speech until a group gathers to express it, then it becomes easy to marginalize them, as a group. Personally I go by the maxim that someone's free speech ends where

          • Unionism is a subset of the right to free assembly and is one of the underlying principles of democracy. This is a spin off of free speech, when enough people feel the same way about some aspect of culture that it needs to be changed, that is how it is changed. That's the point of free speech.

            I have no problems with unions anymore than I have problem with companies selling timeshares, in that while I disagree with what they do and believe that they misrepresent themselves to those who they claim to serve, I believe that individuals should have the right make the choice.

            It seems to me that many people are all for free speech until a group gathers to express it, then it becomes easy to marginalize them, as a group. Personally I go by the maxim that someone's free speech ends where mine begins because if you give someone enough rope they'll either hang themselves or you'll find some sort of understanding. If you try really hard you may even find some mutual respect.

            I agree with you here. Unions are free to speak as they like. However, the problems that I have with unions are: 1) they misrepresent themselves (claiming to care only about employee safety and other workplace-related matters,

            • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

              I have no problems with unions anymore than I have problem with companies selling timeshares, in that while I disagree with what they do and believe that they misrepresent themselves to those who they claim to serve, I believe that individuals should have the right make the choice.

              Every individual believes they should have the right to choose. The issue at stake is the right to free assembly which is at least as fundamental as the right to free speech. When you make that kind of generalization it attacks the right to free assembly in an unconscious way.

              However, the problems that I have with unions are: 1) they misrepresent themselves and, 2) forced membership

              1) They all do that? Really, 100% of them misrepresent themselves. Say a specific union has corrupt practices, sure, I can accept that. Lots of groups misrepresent themselves, unions do too. That's just the world and we have to t

              • I think this comes down to Personal Responsibility, which seems to be an unpopular concept, insofar as if you are going to work in a particular field of work then you had better know that in advance and figure out if you are comfortable with being in that union, otherwise what are you doing there? If you're so passionate about a certain field of work then you can form your own union that is optional and exercise your right to free assembly.

                I am a huge fan of personal responsibility. In fact, the tendency of unions to breed mediocrity at the cost of personal responsibility is partly why I think that they are part of the problem and not part of the solution. In any event, I can understand where you are coming from. However, if a union establishes a closed shop somewhere (i.e., you must join that particular union as a condition of employment), then they are infringing upon the right of free assembly of any worker who does not wish to join the

                • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

                  In fact, the tendency of unions to breed mediocrity at the cost of personal responsibility is partly why I think that they are part of the problem

                  That is the sad irony. Some people really are mediocre. We're not all equal and we never will be, worse some people actually choose to be mediocre. If they have a mediocre job and a mediocre union they are still free to step out of that. They either take on the personal responsibility willingly or they remain mediocre. Nothing is going to stop a mediocre person who thinks life is meaningless from being the least they can be. Having a union that they *have* to join is probably more than they deserve form

                  • I'm certain not willing to dictate to anyone what form their right to free assembly takes place. I'm going to come down of the side of freedom of expression, speech and assembly every time.

                    I am glad that we agree here. While unions should be free to organize and recruit members, people should likewise be free to ignore them. Again, like churches as I mentioned in my earlier reply (which I note you conveniently omitted). Unions should not be treated any differently than churches: if you want to join it is your business, but nobody should be able to force you to join.

                    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

                      I'm certain not willing to dictate to anyone what form their right to free assembly takes place. I'm going to come down of the side of freedom of expression, speech and assembly every time.

                      I am glad that we agree here.

                      If people decide to assemble then the people who participate in their group have to abide by their rules. So if a union wants to have mandatory membership in that sector, that is that groups right which has no impact on freedom of choice of an individual to participate in that occupation.

                      While unions should be free to organize and recruit members, people should likewise be free to ignore them.

                      People voluntarily make them selves members of certain communities that have a set of standards. Those communities expect certain standards and some of them are mandatory if you expect to participate in that occupation. Ma

    • Yes, and it worked so well for American auto manufacturers. Detroit is so much better of a slum than Bangladesh!
  • A long time ago, I worked in a retail store. WE had some version of the AFL-CIO representing usin our $2.15/hour jobs. I would see the union manager come around in his $1000 suits (a lot at the time). He didn't actually seem to be doing good for the employees, but it looked like he sure was doing good for himself.

    It didn't take long before I was required to join. I called up my boss and refused to join the union. He made me the department maanger instead.

    I can't say I ever missed having that union.

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @07:01PM (#55126729)

      I would see the union manager come around in his $1000 suits (a lot at the time). He didn't actually seem to be doing good for the employees, but it looked like he sure was doing good for himself.

      Anecdotes and confirmation bias in an anti-union post, how original. But you don't see people questioning the very concept of banking because of Well's Fargo fraudulently signing people up for accounts they didn't ask for.

      • I assert that currency is a fiction. I don't deal with trivial matters like banking. And I think your job is dumb, not just your union.

      • But you don't see people questioning the very concept of banking because of Well's Fargo fraudulently signing people up for accounts they didn't ask for.

        No, you see the dumbshits lining up to be treated like shit and stolen from when there's a credit union literally across the street. My landlords' mortgage is with wells fargo and last time I went in to pay my rent which I do with a direct bank deposit, there was a line six people deep and a dickwad in a suit standing out front asking if he could help anyone with a non-cash transaction, to which the answer was no as usual. I told him my day would be better if I didn't have do business with a criminal organi

    • If you don't like the guy you vote him out, or what do you intend to do in the next presidential election?

  • Forthrightedness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @06:58PM (#55126719)
    All Tesla has to do is demonstrate to their workers that they already are getting working conditions that meet or exceed that of other unionized shops. Once they do so in an honest and forthright fashion, the union problem goes away because why would anyone want it?
    • Organizers don't organize for the benefit of the organized. They organize for the benefit of the organizer.

      (Alinsky is said to have uttered something along these lines when asked why he never joined any of the groups created according to his teachings.)

    • Wouldn't it be great it human nature worked that way?

      Fact is - some people will turn down a free $20 bill.

      Other folks are happy if they get a car but then feel bad if someone else gets a car.

      both sides- union and management push worker's buttons.

      The union helps workers sometimes- but it may have it's own agenda (stopping tesla) (getting a big fat paycheck for the union bossses).

      Management.. well .. let's say there's almost no conflict there. They just use the hell out of workers in every way possible inste

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

      Behind every union is an employer who gives them a reason to exist.

      • Exactly. Employers can pretend that it isn't their job to make employees happy to work there, but that's a double-edged sword, isn't it? Many of the comments here kind of say, 'but the union want to get in for their own sake'. Well then win the employees over. Tesla is supposed to be a very creative and intelligent man, surely he can figure this out.
    • the union problem goes away because why would anyone want it?

      You're assuming the union wants to unionise the plant for the better conditions of the workers.

      Unions have ulterior motives too, a key one being self preservation and expansion (accumulation of power). Sure this often benefits the workers but just because the workers are already getting good conditions doesn't mean there isn't a continued drive for the above two.

  • by seoras ( 147590 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @07:19PM (#55126809)

    If you old enough to remember the 1970's in Britain (I was at primary school) you'll remember the mess the UK was un due to Unions flexing muscle.
    It was like a 3rd world country. The worst year was the infamous "winter of discontent" [wikipedia.org].
    I was off school either because the teachers were striking, the miners were striking (no coal, no heating, freezing school) or the school janitor was striking.
    The rubbish (trash) was piling up on the streets as the refuse collectors were striking.
    I would sit at home with my parents in the dark with a gas lamp because the power station had gone out on strike.
    I have no love for Thatcher, her politics, policies or legacy. This union driven madness was really what brought her to power and she crushed them without mercy.
    It was effectively the end of socialist Britain, the cold war had made communism a dirty world and socialism was getting a bad name thanks to the power drunk unions.
    The pendulum has swung a bit too far right since then (NHS dismantlement) and, I personally, blame the unions for it.
    They abused their power and we all paid for it.
    Reading between the lines on this Tesla spat with unions makes me think it's a grab for power.
    We're not hearing any stories of awful working conditions. Oppressed, underpaid workers or anything that would make us think 'they need help, they need a union".
    I'd like to think there was protection and worker representation in place but I also don't want to see Tesla hindered in their championing of a clean automotive future due to aa union's (unnecessary) interference.

    • That's what all that Thatcherite apologia translates to. You were the coddled child of bourgeois shitbags who wanted that whole workers-share-in-the-benefits-of-the-economy thing to be a passing phase in the post WWII era.

      • by seoras ( 147590 )

        Oh how wrong are you? I grew up in the south east of Glasgow during some of it's worst economic periods. Steel Mill closures and mass unemployment.
        A Glasgow, working class, Scot apologising for Thatcher? That's like asking a Jew to apologise for Hitler.
        Some socialist ideals work really well. I was educated to Masters level for free. The economy and population does benefit in the long term from that.

        The problem with the traditional socialist ideas of communism, unionism etc are that they don't deal well with

    • by seoras ( 147590 )

      Lots of A.C posts which lacked anything but passionate venom towards my thoughts. It had religious undertones and I felt like a heretic being burned.
      You were free to leave it be or respond with your own insights, anecdotes, feelings and thoughts to help enlightenment me. I enjoy a healthy debate.
      When we fight monsters when tend to create new ones to fight them with.
      Wasn't that what Nietzsche meant when he wrote "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze l

  • And what do the union representatives want?

    I can't say it any better than this [youtube.com]!

You do not have mail.

Working...