Employees at Tesla’s Fremont factory appear to have mixed opinions about the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s efforts to organize the facility. The UAW, after securing deals from the Detroit Big Three, is now setting its eyes on non-union automakers like Tesla.
But while the UAW’s presence may be felt in Tesla, some workers who spoke on the condition of anonymity informed Insider that they would not want to work in a unionized factory. This, one employee noted, was due to the company’s startup culture.
“Tesla still very much has a startup culture, and that’s a lot different than a union culture. I think people join Tesla because they want to work hard. They want to push themselves. They want to find ways to stand out by going above and beyond, and that’s difficult to do in a union,” the employee stated.
Two Tesla engineers shared that they joined the electric vehicle maker straight out of engineering school with the hope that they could work their way up to an engineering role. This has proven quite challenging, the employees noted, since even internal promotions are competitive. Tesla tends to see a lot of interest among job-seekers, however, with the company attracting 3.6 million applicants last year.
“I think for a lot of the people that work at Tesla, it’s not just a job. People are proud of what they do here. They believe in the mission of the company,” a Tesla employee stated.
As for pro-union workers, three employees informed the publication that Tesla could probably weed out pro-union employees even before they work for the company. “That kind of person probably wouldn’t even make it through the interview process,” a Tesla engineer noted.
Despite the apparent mixed opinions from Tesla workers, the UAW is reportedly making progress in its efforts to organize the Fremont factory. Earlier this week, a Bloomberg report claimed that the UAW had formed an organizing committee at the facility.
While Tesla has never held a union vote at any of its US facilities, some workers at Giga Berlin have joined the German union IG Metall. Elon Musk, for his part, has previously invited the UAW to hold a vote at Tesla’s Fremont Factory. The CEO has also expressed confidence that Tesla workers would likely vote against a union, considering that “former UAW members who work at Tesla are not huge fans of UAW.”
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