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

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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.

SOURCE: ELECTREK



Powerful German Union Welcomes Tesla To Play By Its Rules

Raphael Orlove
Today 12:38PM


Tesla has had a pretty easy time of avoiding accountability amid allegations of poor and racist working conditions. Of course it has! It operates in the U.S., which has spent decades eroding union protections. Tesla is expanding into Germany now, and it has another thing coming.

Joerg Hofmann, head of Germany’s largest union IG Metall, spoke with Reutersabout Tesla’s upcoming Gigafactory outside of Berlin. The plant has been having some issues, ironic issues, in that it’s supposed to be supporting a new green economy and it’s been threatening the local environment.

In addition to being at odds with its obligations to nature, the Gigafactory has been getting into it over its obligations to its workers. The State Office for Occupational Safety has opened a probe into the construction of the plant, investigating if Tesla was meeting minimum wage requirements, working hours requirements, and construction safety standards, as Business Insider reports.

It is with this in mind that I enjoy this line from Reuters’ article speaking with Hofmann:

“If the team for Gruenheide is on board we will establish a works council with the employees and organise them.”

Hofmann’s comments, coming shortly after a report in Business Insider saying that German authorities are probing possible violations of labour laws at the Gruenheide site, suggest Tesla will have a tough time avoiding organised labour in Europe’s top economy. read more

Hofmann said that while meaningful talks with Tesla in Germany were not easy due to numerous leadership changes that have taken place at the carmaker, IG Metall welcomed Tesla’s decision to establish itself in Germany.

Tesla is welcome — welcome! — to establish itself in Germany. It will just be doing so in a place where works councils are the norm, not something that gets campaigned against and stifled. Some big businesses (like Volkswagen) want to play more fast and loose with their workers, and hope Tesla will help them get away with it. That’s an uphill battle, though.

What’s funny about all of this is that I’m sure that Tesla will eventually get its Germany Gigafactory up and running, and it will do so with a union workforce, and it will end up with a successful and healthy operation. And in doing so it’ll be putting a hole the arguments used in its own anti-union campaigns at its home base of Fremont.

Raphael Orlove
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Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

SOURCE: JALOPNIK





IG Metall wants to found a works council in the Tesla plant

IG Metall wants to set up a works council among the employees of the Tesla plant planned in Grünheide. That said IG Metall boss Jörg Hoffmann in an interview published on Friday by the Reuters news agency.

IG Metall wants to address the issues of works council and collective bargaining coverage at Tesla in due course, said Hofmann. The union is betting that Tesla will poach skilled workers from other automakers for its Grünheider plant. With their previous employers, these people are often organized in IG Metall and are paid according to the tariff. Hoffmann is therefore betting that the skilled workers will also set up an employee representative body in their jobs at Tesla.

Tesla boss Elon Musk is known to work well over forty hours a week himself and to require that of many of his employees. So far, Musk has largely prevented employees from organizing at the plants in the USA.

SOURCE: rbb24




Union sets sights on works council at Tesla's German factory
Organized labor will be an issue in Germany where unions have significant say
Reuters

FRANKFURT -- Germany's largest and most powerful union, IG Metall, has set its sights on setting up a works council at Tesla's new European factory, its head Joerg Hofmann said.

Tesla plans to build up to 500,000 cars a year at the factory in Gruenheide near Berlin. The EV maker is currently hiring for the plant, which will employ 12,000 people.

Organized labor will be an issue for Tesla in Germany, where unions have significant say over strategic matters.

"So far I have not been in contact with [Tesla CEO] Elon Musk. Tesla is now hiring in Gruenheide, in the land of co-determination and collective bargaining agreements. Tesla's management knows this," Hofmann told Reuters.

IG Metall "will establish a works council with employees and organize them," Hofmann said.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

Hofmann said that while meaningful talks with Tesla in Germany were not easy due to numerous leadership changes that have taken place at the automaker, IG Metall welcomed Tesla's decision to establish itself in Germany.

"It's the first big investment in a new factory in the automotive sector since the turn of the millennium," Hofmann said.

He said that finding skilled workers in Germany would be a challenge, adding Tesla will have to adhere to the standards of the local labor market.

Hofmann's comments came after a report in Business Insider said that German authorities are probing possible violations of labor laws at the Gruenheide site.

Tesla said in April that production was on track to start in late 2021, instead of its earlier target of July. But the factory is not expected to start production until the end of January 2022 due to problems in getting the plant ready for battery pack production and gaining regulatory approval, sources told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.

In October, Tesla's executive overseeing construction of the Gruenheide factoryleft his position, a source familiar with the matter said at the time, following the departure of Jochen Rudat, head of Germany, a year earlier.

Germany's co-determination law allows for works councils to be established at companies if employees agree. Employee representatives sit on the supervisory boards at Volkswagen Group, Daimler and BMW.



SOURCE: Automotive News Europe



Tesla is on a collision course with Germany's biggest union and neither side is likely to back down

As Tesla works to get its mammoth new factory in Germany up and running by the summer, disturbing delicate reptile habitats may be the least of Elon Musk's worries.

After sparring with locals over everything from water supply to deforestation, there may be an even larger threat looming: Germany's largest union.

Tesla hasn't made many friends of labor activists in the US, and the 2.2-million-strong IG Metall isn't likely to go down without a fight, experts told Insider. A prolonged battle over contracts with the group — which wields considerable political influence and social capital — could derail Tesla's ambitious plans for the European market.

A standoff over contracts
Virtually every major carmaker operating in Germany is a member of an employers' association, and IG Metall — which represents metalworkers in the auto industry and other sectors — negotiates industry-wide contracts with the group instead of bargaining with each company individually. That system gives the country's unions considerably more negotiating power than their US counterparts, which vote to unionize plant by plant.

But there's a catch — joining the association isn't required by law, it's only customary. And Tesla has made every indication it's not interested in following that deep-rooted norm.

f902281001950abf0?width=1300&format=jpeg&auto=webp.jpg

Tesla aims to complete Gigafactory Berlin by July. Patrick Pleul/Getty Images

The carmaker has caught heat for union-busting tactics in the US — the National Labor Relations Board ruled in March that Musk must delete an anti-union tweet and reinstate a fired employee who was part of an organizing drive — and it has signaled it's not keen on working with unions in Germany either.

Tesla ignored a letter from IG Metall inviting a dialogue last year. And it went to great lengths to pacify disgruntled union members at Tesla Grohmann Automation, an engineering firm it acquired in 2016, without entering the industry's collective agreement. Instead, the carmaker fended off a strike by giving workers a deal that was comparable to the industry-wide wage (plus stock options).

It could try to pull the same play at Gigafactory Berlin.

The stakes are high for IG Metall
But IG Metall likely wants to avoid that scenario at all costs, Stephen Silvia, a professor at American University whose research focuses on comparative labor relations, told Insider.

Allowing a massive non-union plant to build cars in Germany would set the dangerous precedent that companies don't need to engage in collective bargaining, he said. It would also mean thousands of members would potentially go without the contractually enforced job security, wages, and benefits the rest of the industry enjoys.

SOURCE: BUSINESS INSIDER





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Crissa

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Fight? Tesla only has one real vote here: Provide a good deal for their workers.

That's not a fight. That's what they're already doing.

-Crissa
 
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Fight? Tesla only has one real vote here: Provide a good deal for their workers.

That's not a fight. That's what they're already doing.

-Crissa
The unions see it as a matter of life or death(of the unions) issue.

So yes it is a fight for survival as the unions see it.
 
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Germany’s Largest Union Is Looking To Set Itself Up At Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory

BY SEBASTIEN BELL | POSTED ONMAY 8, 2021

IG Metall, Germany’s biggest union, has its sights on setting up a works council at Tesla’s upcoming gigafactory in Gruenheide, near Berlin.

“If the team for Gruenheide is on board we will establish a works council with the employees and organize them,” Joerg Hofmann, the union’s head, told Reuters.

IG Metall is the top metalworkers’ union in Germany and the largest union in the country, but Hofmann says he has not spoken to Tesla CEO Elon Musk yet.

“So far I have not been in contact with Elon Musk,” he said. “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.”

Hofmann added, though, that talks with Tesla officials have been difficult as a result of a number of leadership changes. The executive overseeing construction at the gigafactory left his position recently, a source told Reuters. The head of Tesla’s German operation left his position a year earlier.

Indeed, Tesla is facing scrutiny for its employment practices in the country and is under investigation for allegedly not paying construction workers at the plant Germany’s minimum wage. The plant is also being investigated for an environmental issue.

Hofmann, though, said he and IG Metall welcomed Tesla’s entry into Germany: “It’s the first big investment in a new factory in the automotive sector since the turn of the millennium.”

Between COVID-related delays and a two-week work stoppage due to pipes that might leak wastewater, Tesla has had to delay the opening of its German factory. The company recently said that it has moved the plant’s deadline by six months, thus pushing back the opening date to January 2022.

2021-Tesla-Model-Y-3.jpg



SOURCE: CAR SCOOPS




Union sets sights on Tesla’s German factory
By Reuters
May 7, 2021 | 4:28pm | Updated

union-eyes-tesla-germany.jpg

Tesla CEO Elon Musk visits the construction site of the company's future factory compound outside Berlin, where Germany's top union hopes to organize.AFP via Getty Images


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

The US electric-car maker is hiring for the site in Gruenheide, whose opening was pushed back in April due to red tape as well as a decision to include a battery cell manufacturing plant.

Organized labor will be an issue for the group in Germany, not only home to some of the world’s biggest and most famous carmakers but also to powerful unions that command significant say over strategic matters.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

“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,” Hofmann told Reuters.

“If the team for Gruenheide is on board we will establish a works council with the employees and organize them.”

Hofmann’s comments, coming shortly after a report in Business Insider saying that German authorities are probing possible violations of labor laws at the Gruenheide site, suggest Tesla will have a tough time avoiding organized labor in Europe’s top economy.

Hofmann said that while meaningful talks with Tesla in Germany were not easy due to numerous leadership changes that have taken place at the carmaker, IG Metall welcomed Tesla’s decision to establish itself in Germany.

In October, Tesla’s executive overseeing construction of the Gruenheide factory left his position, a source familiar with the matter said at the time, following the departure of Jochen Rudat, head of Germany, a year earlier.

The edge of the Tesla Gigafactory construction site east of Berlin.dpa/picture alliance via Getty I
“It’s the first big investment in a new factory in the automotive sector since the turn of the millennium,” Hofmann said.

He said that finding skilled workers in Germany would be a challenge, adding Tesla will have to adhere to the standards of the local labor market.

Hofmann a day earlier had warned that Germany’s car industry was facing an “employment fiasco” unless it gets badly needed investment in new technologies, especially in batteries.

SOURCE: New York Post
 
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Lasttoy

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I dealt with the unions for 10 years there. They are ruthless. Worse than UAW. Yes they want to say they want good work condition, but it's all about union dues. Remember, money is power. It's BS Tesla is breaking the German laws. How many workers u see quiting?? Zero. How many citations have they received from gov?? Zero. The local government and Berlin are thrilled to be host to Tesla. We will see how this turns out.
 

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Wrong, again.
No, right. The only reason Tesla got in trouble is because Elon stuck his foot in his mouth. It's not up to him if the factory workers unionize. Either he's done his job to make them happy, or not.

Tesla should stay out of it.

And if the workers unionize, that's an opportunity to offload pension, healthcare, and a bunch of hr stuff. Simplify bidding for labor.

-Crissa

PS - one thing they should not agree to offloading is training and certification. That's a bottleneck that creates union corruption.
 

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