UAW Sends Organizers To The Tesla Fremont Factory

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The Tesla Fremont Factory

The Tesla Fremont Factory

Following the recent press surrounding a Tesla employee’s complaints about work conditions, the United Auto Workers sent a team of organizers to the Tesla Fremont Factory to attempt to facilitate unionization.

UAW President Dennis Williams knows that unionizing the Tesla Fremont Factory would be a significant and much needed victory for labor unions.

UAW President Dennis Williams knows that unionizing the Tesla Fremont Factory would be a significant and much needed victory for labor unions.

UAW president, Dennis Williams, verified the union’s presence at Fremont and made a reference to last week’s events. He said:

“I thought it was bizarre that all that took place. It’s uncharacteristic of Elon to attack his employees as quickly as he did.”

As the UAW reported last week, other Tesla Fremont Factory employees have also approached the organization for support. In fact, the UAW has been in contact with some of them for over six months. The workers reported long hours and unsafe working conditions. Williams shared:

“We have organizers out there. I do have a guy I hired who is a labor organizer but there’s nothing abnormal about it.”

The UAW has been hopeful to organize Tesla for some time now. U.S. union membership has diminished over the years, and just last week, Boeing voted against unionization. This was another critical hit for labor unions. The percent of U.S. workers that now belong to a labor union is at an all-time low of 10.7 percent.

The union has failed to organize German, Japanese, or Korean automakers in the U.S. and it is facing difficult odds in its attempt to unionize Tesla. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that the company is “union neutral,” meaning that workers can choose to organize if they desire. However, he has warned investors of the increased costs associated with work stoppages, employee dues, and other concerns.

Tesla vehicles are markedly expensive in the first place, and building a successful, monumental company, from the ground up, is an extraordinary feat. It comes as no surprise that, in over 113 years, no other company has pulled it off. Ford was the last successful U.S. automaker, prior to Tesla, and Ford has been on the verge of bankruptcy, along with facing many other detrimental issues in the recent past.

Source: Bloomberg

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60 Comments on "UAW Sends Organizers To The Tesla Fremont Factory"

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Organized crime is muscling in on Tesla even before it has a chance to succeed. Maybe it’s time to sell Tesla, we’ll see Monday at 9:30 AM EST.

Organized crime?

I guess you don’t think workers organizing with the UAW is a good thing?

Well the implication is that the unions are run by organized crime, and there is plenty of historical evidence to support that claim, though these days the influence of organized crime over unions has been greatly reduced, I would say it’s not gone entirely.

What do you call a group of thugs going to a business and demanding payment or else? Normally, it’s called extortion by criminal gangs. But sometimes, they call it “union”.

Just try to cross a union picket line and see what happens. You’ll get your head bashed in, just like group of thugs in a typical gang.

Let’s say you own a small shop and one of your employee happen to be a wannabe gang banger. He cries to his gang leader to come and take some loot, because he works so hard, even though he doesn’t really compared to the owner (you). That’s exactly what’s happening with Tesla now.

Just Like The Democrats., Put a spin on it , Pick out what they like, Ignore the Rest & it’s OK, It’s Legit Now!!!

Wow. Talk about some Trumptastic “Spin”…

Actually, “Liberals” typically support Unions: i.e., giving a centralized / leveraged voice to worker concerns and issues.

It’s the conservatives who hate having to give up 2.5 hours of pay per month, to support Unions. Businesses also, usually hate having to bow to Union Demands due to additional costs (reductions in workforce productivity, etc.) in meeting them.

30% of Canadian workers are union, they do fine.

UAW in Canada, became CAW, & now after a big merger, is called UNIFOR.

This same union is in Aerospace and other fields. I guess with the loss of the Boeing, Toronto plant (Previously, MDCAN – McDonnell Douglas Canada), they neede to find more members, and found a willing participant to that merger.

Um, no. Sorry, I don’t believe any of the “employee work conditions” astroturfing. Tesla isn’t a car company with great computer programmers. It’s a Silicon Valley “battery-skateboard” company that still has to make all the cars themselves (oh, and charging systems… oh, and rockets), because when Elon tried to sell his EV tech to the Big Three, everyone in Detroit resisted. That the UAW’s first (lame) organizing salvo in Silicon Valley is their usual rust-belt false-flag ghostwritten nonsense suggests that they’re **STILL** about three time zones east of understanding how Northern California works. It’s not exactly like California lacks enough government regulation for worker safety. There’s lots of bureaucracy in CA. Ask the smelt. So precisely zero employees in Silicon Valley’s caffeine-fired culture will risk their family’s TLSA options. None will steal IP on behalf of the UAW. None will sabotage the line, and risk killing some driver. Few will will even risk the high hourly wages. The UAW doesn’t have a lot of leverage in Fremont, because (like most companies along the 101), the whole company was built for profit-sharing in the first place, and there’s a lot of justifiable pride in an excellent product. Also, there’s Detroit. “Come… Read more »

Yeah organizing Tesla is about as likely to happen as putting a colony on Mars! it ain’t gonna happen.

Oh, dear. I fear a/ you are wrong (about a Mars ‘colony’) and b/ it’s going to happen very soon (relatively speaking). As for the unions, I have never really understood why they are necessary any longer. If you have a working condition complaint serious enough to warrant the involvement of a union, there would be cause to take it to an industrial tribunal, without all the heavy-handedness that traditional union would inevitably resort to at the drop of a hat. It’s not like we are living in the 1800’s in the middle of the Industrial Revolution!

Were I Mr Musk, I would make it a simple condition of employment that you are not and will not have anything to do with unions. But that’s probably against the law – for now, at least (I can’t see Trump putting up with that sort of nonsense!).

I’ve never heard of an “industrial tribunal”. Is that similar to what here in the U.S. we call a “labor relations board”?

Thank you!! This “working conditions” issue is absolute horse crap. If there were truly poor conditions, there are a whole host of state, local and federal agencies to report to not least of which is OSHA. There is no need to call in the UAW dogs other than you think you can extort Tesla for more something.

All the UAW has to do is find a few malcontents working the line there and promise them a bright shiny future with more money, less hours and a top of the line health plan and they will say anything. I know, I lost a lot of great work last year because a very few greedy employees who were paid more than 20% over market rates and offered continuous employment opportunity in an industry that is typically part time, went to a trade union and called in their dogs to get even more.

The result is they lost their jobs and so did a bunch of us innocent bystanders that were thrilled with the way it was. There is no union there now, just a lot of different workers.

“Few will will even risk the high hourly wages.”

What are you dear cult members are smoking? The factory pay starts from $17/hour. That is in SF Bay Area, where everything costs an arm & a leg.
It is less than Toyota & GM were paying in the old times when adjusted for inflation.
Workers commute there from cheaper locations far away, some are even sleeping in RVs in parking lot.

It is not $5/hour they paid for “outcontracted” illegals in construction they “obviously” didn’t know anything about, but nothing “high”.

The workers have their legal right to unionize the same way shareholders hire one CEO to represent their interests.

“What are you dear cult members smoking?”

It’s a thing we call “data.”

Here, try a hit:

Meanwhile, in fairness, California has some serious problems. Chief among them are fresh water (too little, and now too much); an absurd prison population, which sucks away a whole generation’s treasure and hope; and an inadequate supply of affordable, safe housing for the middle class.

The UAW does not offer unique answers to any of that. It’s just NUMMI Part Deux.

So, while we’re smoking data together, try a toke of this: here’s the worker riot that ensued after the same UAW caused GM/Toyota manufacturing to close down.

Again, data. As John Adams said waaay back in 1770 (and several other US Presidents have said since): Facts are stubborn things.

Google “Local 2244 loss.” Those 5 million web pages are interesting reading. Lots of facts. Very stubborn.

“It’s a thing we call “data.”

Here, try a hit:”

I Lol’d.
Great post.

Thank you again for bringing reality to the discussion. The UAW is bad for Tesla and ultimately bad for the workers there. Some of the workers don’t know it, but they are better off without the UAW, or any trade union at this point.

From your link, I found that the starting wage for a Tesla “Producton Associate” is $25,127, or $12.50 an hour. Must be part time.

Looks like a Tea Party meeting!

The hourly wages are not high at Tesla.

They pay $17-$21 per hour for line workers. In-n-Out (fast food) pays a starting wage of $15/hour.

“most companies along the 101” – how much do you know about Northern California? Not enough to know Northern Californians don’t put “the” before highway numbers apparently.

I also doubt the UAW will be successful in organizing Tesla’s plant. But it won’t be because of the wages paid there. Personally, I think I’d take my chances at In-n-Out.

Yawn. That’s a tired argument. Weak sauce. The issue isn’t whether the entry-level job at Tesla pays market wages; it’s also whether the entry-level job can get you further up a career ladder without some Detroit union taking their cut, and probably shutting down the NUMMI plant yet again. I’m not sure why you’re mentioning In-and-Out, as if that’s somehow bad. Those are good people who also make a great product, and who should be proud of what they do (for folks east of the Continental Divide, think “Five Guys”). Some jobs will be quite similar in both industries. A burger shop needs the floors mopped, and so does a Tesla factory. A burger shop needs the windows cleaned, and so so does a Tesla factory. How much do think someone should be paid to put the little Schrader caps on the valve stems of a P90D? Or to drive the car off the end of the assembly line? Or to put the paperwork neatly in the glove box? Those aren’t $100+ / hr job tasks, like the ones done by a computer programmer or electrical engineer. Let’s be honest – there are some entry-level tasks in manufacturing, including crushing… Read more »

Well, first, the UAW and other unions didn’t and don’t manage companies, so the companies’ mistakes are on management and their consultants, not the unionized workforce. And, second, the dream of Silicon Valley stock options and profit sharing catapulting everyone to riches is just that, a dream. It’s not reality for the great majority of workers there. It simply isn’t.

Organization of labor unions is not a crime it is what built this country and a lot of the laws we now have from it from holidays to benefits to safety all businesses have contracts why should not the working people? I guess if you’re a greedy CEO making outlandish salary that is what is really what is a shame and almost ever time somehow get away with criminal activity with just a slap on the wrist when tax payers pay for it and workers get the shaft and then someone with a opinion comes along probably never in a union or benefits from what the union members have done for them in the last 100 years for all working people across this nation I invite them to do a little research before opening their uneducated opinions

“Ford was the last successful U.S. automaker, prior to Tesla, and Ford has been on the verge of bankruptcy, along with facing many other detrimental issues in the recent past”
Strange way to spell Tesla 😉

The UAW has waited long enough for the Tesla cow to fatten up, so now is the time to start milking it.

Milking Tesla, would be the least of the “Not So Free-mont” factory worries. UAW has a history at Fremont, and both GM and Toyota went elsewhere with manufacturing last decade, because of profitability at that location.

Toyota was still profitable at that plant. But GM wanted to pull out (they were going broke at the time) and Toyota refused to operate the plant alone because they didn’t want to own a plant that had an organized union labor force.

Let’s hope Freemont doesn’t go belly up again! 2010 is when GM and Toyota had to pull the plug on their Freemont factory and just walk away. Oh well, at least Tesla showed proof of concept berfore Model 3 was a reality.

Not If these Guys can Help it !!! They should Let Tesla Get Established First & then Maybe Do the Union Money Grab .. But give Tesla a fighting chance at Least ..

Fake facts don’t make for intelligent comments. NUMMI was designed as a temporary venture between GM and TOYOTA. It produces quality vehicles with UAW labor such as my 2005 Pontiac vibe. Attacks on unions were a hallmark of Hitler’s Nazis. Watch what you ask for.

they already succeeded in shutting down the numi factory once now the uaw is back to do it again. sad really, hopefully tesla stops expansion of the fremont factory and start manufacturing not only model 3 drivetrains but the all their models at the gigafactory.

No doubt

UAW = cancer. Its part of you, but it will kill you.

UAW = Unfunded Liabilities, as in pensions, that erode Corporate profits down the road, choking off shareholder dividends and eventually market capitalization. Hard not to go bankrupt, and get taxpayer bailouts when the economy tanks and the SHTF!

God forbid people should be able to retire! Pensions? Let them eat day-old bread!

Well that’s Tesla gone then. It was fun while it lasted.

Liberals and unions go hand in hand. However, they love Tesla and it’s importance to our future. They know in their hearts how dangerous unions would be to a fast growing fragile company. What an interesting position for liberals to be in.

Hopefully the employees make the right choice for their own interests and kick the UAW to the curb.

“What an interesting position for liberals to be in.”

“Liberals” can’t distinguish from the need for workers’ rights such as collective bargaining at the local level, and a national union which long ago got so big that it forgot its purpose was to help ordinary workers?

That’s like saying that liberals can’t tell the difference between the need to drink several glasses of water every day, and drowning.

Hey! I’ll bet you can tell the difference too. So that makes you almost as smart as they are. 😉

Why does the UAW even need to be the Union of choice? Could they not create a new union?

“Electric Automobile Manufacturers Labor Union”, (EAMLU); or “Union of Laborers fo Electric Automobile Manufacturers” – (ULEAM)?

If they really needed a union, that is! Most Unionised companies don’t offer profit sharing, do they? Does Tesla currently do so for these workers? If they did have share options or other profit sharring warrants, Elon should offer to remove those, should they go for a unionized shop!

“Could they not create a new union?”

I assume there would be nothing to stop them, other than illegal heavy-handed tactics by the UAW.

I found the analogy between the UAW and organized crime to be an interesting one. Perhaps there’s a few grains of truth there. I remember that my uncle, a trained industrial engineer, carried a gun in the glove compartment of his car because there were people trying to pressure him to join the union. But that was some decades ago, when unions were far stronger than they are now.

If the Fremont workers think they need a union, they’d certainly be far better off creating their own small union, rather than join the UAW. I think most reasonable people would agree with that, regardless of their personal politics. The term “most” here does not include members of the UAW and their immediate families. 😉

No, they would not be better off starting their own union. You can’t get venture capital for unions, you can only get dues. Organizing is expensive, not Tesla expensive, but certainly expensive for factory workers. The UAW has money and they’re willing to invest it in union-building.

The worst case scenario is that Tesla is very successful, and starts really cutting into the market share for ICE cars that UAW workers build for traditional ICE companies. Those ICE companies start cutting corners and screwing their employees. The UAW rightfully objects when the ICE companies try to make up for losses by having the workers absorb all the losses. They call a strike. Unionized Tesla workers, who are getting stock payoffs for Tesla’s success end up being pushed into joining the strike, in “solidarity”, even though Tesla is doing well, and they are doing well. I have no problems with unions. If we want to talk about IG Metall or some similar union, that’s one thing. But UAW is not a shining example of a well functioning union. If you question that, spend a day reading up on the UAW before posting. I’m not here to teach you history lessons, just because you aren’t aware of UAW’s history. If they want to start a union, they should start their own new union, and steer clear of the UAW. It isn’t like California doesn’t already have very strong State laws covering worker protection. It isn’t like Tesla is in… Read more »

The guy in the posted complaint and video of this subject could as much be the paid organizer, as the first casualty of the pitch by the (other) paid organizer!

No, California doesn’t have strong laws protecting worker safety and health or factors assuring people’s long-term welfare. It only has better laws than most other states. You should keep in mind that the US has the worst labor conditions of the industrialized countries and the worst life expectancy, health care, schooling, roads, etc., etc., etc. None of that is unions’ fault. On the contrary, if unions were stronger, our country’s leaders wouldn’t be flushing the country down their golden toilets.

Right-wing union bashing is the mirror image of left-wing corporation bashing. A great many millions of people, in America and around the world, owe their high living standards to both. Sure there are corrupt unions and there are evil corporations. There are also some inherent problems with both modes of organization, as there are with governments, NGOs, religions, and pretty much every other imaginable form of human organization. Unions played an important role in the 20th century. It’s easy to dismiss now, but early industrial working conditions truly were beyond the pale, and salaries were terrible. Market forces don’t correct this because large employers collude to fix salaries, something even Adam Smith wrote about. Like it or not, unions were a response to this problem. Since then, things have changed for the better in industrial countries, and many unions have retained rigid, obsolete ideas of how people work, or should work. I have no idea what the modern UAW is like, though I know that 20 or 30 years ago they were a negative force in the auto industry (as was management, especially at GM and Chrysler). I hope Tesla does not unionize, because I don’t know that the UAW… Read more »

“Unions played an important role in the 20th century.”

Very true. The racist white people formed unions to force companies from hiring blacks who were willing to work for less. This was especially true during the depression. While I can’t say unions are race motivated today, its roots are certainly racist.

Even today, if they legalized more immigration from poor countries, union would be up in arms. The work that can be done by those willing to work for less will be blocked by union thugs cracking heads of “non American” (ie, mostly non white) immigrants. This is one big reason why I call Donand trUMP a DUMP.

If one wants to read up on the actual history of this issue, rather than the “alternative facts” which Sparky prefers on social and political issues, then I recommend the following link:

This sugarcoats union history. Union that included blacks were those that had large black workers in the first place. They can’t unionize with minority white workers. By and large, unions were racists in early 20th century.

Same applies today to immigrants. You think union is happy to see immigrants willing to work for less than what union could extort from the companies? Unions may not be so race motivated today, but their actions are identical: deny work for minorities by threatening them with violence.

@Alonzo Perez

That’s very thoughtfully written, very fair.

Yes, unlike Spark EVs raging right-wing nut comments.

Don’t forget, we all have Unions to thanks for:

A living wage.

The 8 hour day, or overtime thereafter.

The 40 hour workweek, or overtime thereafter.

Breaks at work so you can eat and use the restroom and maybe even recharge a little before going back to work.

Sick leave.

Paid vacations.

Frequently, weekends off.

And many other benefits that most people enjoy.

I for one am grateful and consider Labor’s contributions to society to be very much net positive.

Meanwhile, millions of people who do not belong to organized crime called “union” are getting just as good a benefit, many even better.

If you really worked for a living, you’d understand the blood and sweat that went into it, and would fight hard to defend the fruit of your labor (your company) from being taken over by thugs. Those thugs not only threaten you, but threaten anyone who wants to work hard and earn a living at your company. Union is literal definition of organized crime gang.

All these pro-union talks are those who don’t know the value of hard work. Apparently, no one taught them that stealing is wrong.

If you think unions were formed for the goodness of all to enjoy what you describe, you’re seriously deluded. Unions did not include blacks back in early 20 century. Why? Because it was a way to keep blacks out of labor pool who were willing to work for less.

If supporting equality regardless of skin color is right wing nut, yeah, I’m a right wing nut and damn proud to be skin-color blind. Then what are you, a left wing racist?


That’s right, unions were all about racism and never did a single thing to help people.

Now can we get back to promoting EVs?

Its no wonder we are cursed with Trump and his minions with highly misled people like many of the posters here.

The fact is that WAGE THEFT by EMPLOYERS in the Billions of dollars/year with only a small fraction every recovered because most non-union workers simply don’t have the leverage to even fight against it and therefore don’t even report it to the relevant enforcement agencies:

As far as the propaganda style argument that (some) Unions USED TO discriminate 100 YEARS ago, well since rascism was pervasive and deeply engrained at this time meant that Unions were just reflective of the prevailing culture of the times.

But nice try and “bait and switch’ since almost the entire current base of the Trumpster movement is based on white nationalism and the fear and loathing scapegoating of immigrants!

As for you SparkEV, I am a retired US Army Infantry (a VERY DIVERSE organization btw) veteran with all the scars of my service to my country so don’t waste my time with your Breitbart-level alternative facts.

As they say in the study of History, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Alonso Perez said: “Unions played an important role in the 20th century. It’s easy to dismiss now, but early industrial working conditions truly were beyond the pale, and salaries were terrible.” Well said! I think most people don’t have any idea just how bad working conditions were for the typical factory or office worker during the early industrial revolution, and how few rights they had. * * * * * HUDDLESTON & BRADFORD BANK Rules for Office Staff — 1854 1. Godliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business. 2. The firm has reduced the working day to the hours from 8:30 to 7p.m. 3. Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The clerical staff will be present. 4. Clothing will be of a sober nature. 5. A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff bring 4 lbs. of coal each day during cold weather. 6. No member of the clerical staff may leave the room with out the permission from Mr. Roberts. The calls of nature are permitted and clerical staff may use the garden beyond the second gate.… Read more »
“Following the recent press surrounding a Tesla employee’s complaints about work conditions, the United Auto Workers sent a team of organizers to the Tesla Fremont Factory to attempt to facilitate unionization.” Seriously? According to the earlier report on this subject, the letter of complaint actually mentioned the UAW, and obviously was written with a lot of help from experienced union organizers, and perhaps entirely written by them. So it looks like it would be more truthful to say: The UAW is continuing its orchestrated efforts to unionize Tesla’s Fremont plant, following up on the propaganda piece which masqueraded as a letter of complaint by an anonymous worker. As I said in a comment to the previous article, I’m all for small unions. Workers need collective bargaining to level the playing field against large businesses. But national unions are so large that they lose sight of what they’re really supposed to be representing, which is the ordinary worker. The UAW is unfortunately a perfect example of that, and was one of the biggest contributors to driving American auto assembly jobs overseas. So while I would support a local effort to organize a local union by the workers at Tesla’s assembly plant,… Read more »

I agree. Monopoles are bad, and large unions aim to monopolise the labor market for large employers, destroying competition and meritocratic compensation systems.

Tesla should open all new plants in right to work states and slowly move all manufacturing out of Freemont and shut the plant.

And then PoFolks like you can continue to remain…POOR:

“The union has failed to organize German, Japanese, or Korean automakers in the U.S”

Volkswagen is very pro-union, and at one time was trying to get their TN plant unionized. Their tune changed after Dieselgate. I’m not sure if the plant ever became unionized.