BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Tesla Workers United said Thursday that over 30 workers were fired from a Buffalo plant Wednesday after workers attempted to organize earlier this week.
In a release, Workers United called the firings at Gigafactory 2 “unacceptable” and said expectations of Tesla employees at the factory are “unfair, unattainable, ambiguous and ever changing.”
“I returned to work (from COVID and a bereavement leave), was told I was exceeding expectations and then Wednesday came along,” organizing committee member Arian Berek said in a release. “I strongly feel this is in retaliation to the committee announcement and it’s shameful.”
According to the release, workers also received an email from the company around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, saying workers are prohibited from recording workplace meetings without all participants’ permission. Workers United said the policy violates federal labor law and New York’s one-party consent law to record conversations.
Tesla employee Sara Costantino, another organizing committee member, also commented as part of the statement.
“We’re angry. This won’t slow us down. This won’t stop us,” Constantino said. “They want us to be scared, but I think they just started a stampede. We can do this. But I believe we will do this.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken a hard line against organized labor, despite an invitation to the United Auto Workers union to hold an organizing vote at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California. In 2021 Tesla was ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to make Musk delete a 2018 tweet in which it said that he unlawfully threatened employees with loss of stock options if they chose to be represented by the UAW.
WIVB reached out to Tesla on Tuesday following the announcement of worker organization and did not receive a response. On Thursday, WIVB reached out again and received a bounce-back email, which said Tesla’s press email inbox is full and cannot currently accept messages.
Musk has not commented publicly on the organization’s efforts or the reported firings.
WIVB also reached out to the National Labor Relations Board for a statement on the claim, first reported on by Bloomberg, but did not immediately receive a response.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.