Some Tesla employees are reportedly organizing a union at Gigafactory Berlin, and IG Metall – one of Germany’s most powerful unions – is behind it.
For years, United Auto Workers (UAW) tried to unionize Tesla’s 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 the automaker has been expected to face more unionization efforts in Germany as it grows its workforce with Gigafactory Berlin.
Earlier this year, IG Metall said that it was looking to get a foot into Tesla Gigafactory Berlin.
Today, the union said that it is now working with seven Tesla employees to set up an election committee by the end of the month (via Reuters):
“The IG Metall trade union said seven employees had taken the first step towards setting up a works council, planning to choose an election committee on Nov. 29.”
Birgit Dietze, IG Metall district leader in Berlin, Brandenburg, and Saxony, commented on bringing the union to Tesla:
“A works council ensures that the interests of the workforce have a voice and a weight. This is in line with the democratic work culture in Germany.”
Tesla is aiming to have as many as 12,000 employees at Gigafactory Berlin and has already hired thousands of them.
In Germany, unions operate a bit differently than in the US. Germany has “worker’s councils,” which are basically unions for the workforce of specific companies. Unions, like IG Metall, are for entire trades and generally work directly with the worker’s councils.
In this case, those Tesla employees working with IG Metall are looking to set up their own worker’s council for Gigafactory Berlin.
Tesla aims to start production at the new factory by the end of the year and hiring should ramp up significantly next year.
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