Tesla workers in New York are set to launch a union campaign, the first-ever initiative at the electric carmaker.

In a letter to Tesla, the workers have indicated their plans and urged management to adhere to a “fair” election.

Tesla owner Elon Musk, who has previously resisted organizing moves at his company, has not publicly responded to the effort.

However, he has made his thoughts on unions well-known in the past, tweeting in 2018: “Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tomorrow if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing?”

He was later ordered to remove this tweet by the National Labor Relations Board after it was found Tesla illegally fired an employee who was a union activist.

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Organizers said around 2,000 employees work at the Buffalo factory.

The campaign has the backing of Workers United, which played a part in the recent rise in unionization at Starbucks.

The Buffalo workers said: “We are organizing a union, with Workers United Upstate New York, that looks to be as innovative as the company we work for and to build an even more collaborative environment that will strengthen the company.”

Campaigners believe the organizing committee is formed from some of the roughly 800 analysts located in Buffalo who work on Tesla’s autopilot systems.

They are aiming to join forces with others at the factory, who include call center employees and others building solar panels and batteries.

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The workers are alleged to have been working privately on the project for months and are presently gathering signatures of support for a union election.

In order to hold an election, they must get the support of at least 30 percent of the workforce.

If they are successful, Tesla will be required to negotiate salary and working conditions with its employees.

There has been an upswing in labor organizing in the US recently, with Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon among the leading firms facing campaigns.

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Tesla has withstood prior efforts, but its methods have garnered criticism from labor officials

Mr. Musk said last year that a tight labor market near Tesla’s California manufacturing site meant his business paid and treated its employees well.

He added: “I’d like hereby to invite UAW to hold a union vote at their convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them.”

Source: BBC

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