Tesla Accused of Terminating Giga New York Workers Over Unionization Efforts
Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
Published Feb. 16, 2023
Dozens of employees from Giga New York were laid off by Tesla on Feb. 15, per a complaint filed by union organizers. The terminations were implemented one day after a union campaign was announced by Autopilot workers at the plant.
The Workers United union said in its filing with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board that Tesla illegally terminated employees “in retaliation for union activity and to discourage union activity.” The union further requested the labor board to seek a federal court injunction “to prevent irreparable destruction of employee rights resulting from Tesla’s unlawful conduct.”
Workers United claimed several of the employees Tesla terminated from Giga New York had been involved in union discussions. At least one of the employees who was laid off was reportedly a member of the organizing committee, per a Bloomberg News report.
Jaz Brisack, an organizer helping the Tesla union drive, said the terminations were “designed to terrify everyone about potential consequences of them organizing, as well as to attempt to cull the herd.”
“This is a form of collective retaliation against the group of workers that started this organizing effort,” Brisack said.
Tesla has not issued a comment about the matter as of writing.
On Feb. 14, a group of 25 Giga New York employees sent a message to CEO Elon Musk expressing their intentions to unionize. The employees’ work involves labeling data for the company’s Autopilot system. The workers asked for job security and increased pay, and they also wanted to have a say in decision-making at the plant.
The employees also aimed to curb factors reportedly harmful to their health, such as monitoring, metrics and production pressure. The workers said Tesla monitors its employees’ keystrokes, and the company tracks how much time is spent per task. Tesla reportedly also tracks how much of the day is spent actively working.
The union said so far, the Giga New York facility employs more than 800 Autopilot analysts. The union also said it is aiming to organize Giga New York’s roughly 1,000 manufacturing workers.