Tesla is set for another fight against unionization, this time over Gigafactory Berlin

Tesla is set for another fight against unionization, this time over Gigafactory Berlin. IG Metall, a powerful union in the German auto industry, confirmed that it wants to have a worker council at the factory.

There have been several unionization efforts at Tesla over the years.

For years, United Auto Workers (UAW) tried to unionize Tesla Fremont factory and the automaker fought against it, so much so that Tesla was recently found to have violated labor laws based on a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In Germany, Tesla ran into a unionization effort in 2017, but they managed to avoid IG Metall getting into its German operations by offering a salary increase and stock options to its employees.

But now IG Metall is back on the offensive as Tesla is getting closer to opening Gigafactory Berlin and significantly increase its workforce in Germany.

Reuters reports:

Germany’s largest and most powerful union IG Metall has set its sights firmly on setting up a works council at Tesla’s gigafactory near Berlin, which is scheduled to open later this year, its head Joerg Hofmann said.

Hofmann said:

So far I have not been in contact with (Tesla CEO) Elon Musk. Why should I be, or he? Tesla is now hiring in Gruenheide, in the land of co-determination and collective bargaining agreements. Tesla’s management knows this. If the team for Gruenheide is on board we will establish a works council with the employees and organize them.

Originally, IG Metall wasn’t enthusiastic about electric vehicles as it feared that the technology was more labor efficient to manufacture than internal combustion engines, which would affect its member base.

However, they changed their tune over the last few years as they realized that slowing down the transition would result in even greater job losses in the industry.

In Germany, Tesla plans to eventually employ over 10,000 people for its manufacturing efforts.

The automaker has argued that Tesla employees are better off without a union since they believe they have an organization that sets up its employees for success and everyone is offered stock options – making them part owners in the venture.

Electrek’s Take

I know that unions operate somewhat differently in Europe and especially in Germany compared to the US, but Tesla seems to be just as set on fighting the potential unionization in Germany based on its previous attempt.

If we have German readers here that are familiar with unions in Germany, I’d love for you to weigh in in the comment section.

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