Tesla has denied firing staff who tried to form a union in New York state.
The company stressed 27 employees were let go due to “poor performance,” and that they were “identified well before the union campaign was announced.”
Organizers in Buffalo claimed staff was fired the day after the union announced its plans.
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They accused Tesla of firing more than 30 people in an attempt to put an end to the campaign.
In a blog post, Tesla said the decision to lay off the employees, who were part of a 675-person Autopilot labeling team, was made on 3 February.
The firm said it only learned in hindsight that one of the 27 impacted employees “officially identified as part of the union campaign.”
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“The employees let go as part of this process received prior feedback on their poor performance from their managers over the course of the review period.
“Despite feedback, they did not demonstrate sufficient improvement”.
Owner Elon Musk has been outspoken about his disagreement to unions in the past.
Adrian Berek, a fired member of the union’s organizing committee, said: “I strongly feel this is in retaliation to the committee announcement and it’s shameful.”
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The union named 18 workers in its complaint to government labor officials who it claimed were sacked by the business “in retaliation for union activity and to discourage union activity.”
Organizers claimed they felt more employees had been sacked based on a corporate discussion and that they anticipated adding names to the complaint.
They claimed that they were still verifying how many of those sacked had actively participated in the campaign or had only expressed support.
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According to organizers from Tesla Workers United, which is supported by the same union that started organizing efforts at Starbucks, the Buffalo facility employs roughly 2,000 people.
The group is currently lobbying Buffalo Tesla employees to support holding a vote on unionization.
It outlined its plans in a letter to the corporation on Tuesday, requesting that the executives accept the ground rules for a “fair” election.
The campaigners say a day later Tesla let go of more than 30 employees and informed staff via email that it has a policy against recording business conversations without everyone’s permission.
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The rule, according to the organizers, was against both federal and state legislation.
The National Labor Relations Board previously determined that Tesla broke labor laws when it attempted to organize at its California auto manufacturing facility.
Sara Costantino, a current Tesla employee and organizing committee member. “We’re angry. This won’t slow us down. This won’t stop us. They want us to be scared, but I think they just started a stampede.”
Source: BBC News
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