Tesla Slapped with Federal Labor Complaint

The United Automobile Workers has hit Tesla with a federal labor complaint, claiming the electric vehicle maker consistently harassed and recently fired union supporters despite their strong performance records.

The complaint escalates tensions between factory workers and the automaker, even as Tesla scrambles to boost production and expand its market. The company also faces a new class action lawsuit over the terminations.

The UAW charges in a complaint filed this week the company retaliated against union supporters in its recent round of dismissals to thwart organizing efforts. Tesla fired several hundred employees this month after annual performance reviews.

A company spokesman said it respects workers rights to protest and discuss union organizing.

"No one at Tesla has ever or will ever have any action taken against them based on their feelings on unionization," the spokesman said.

He added that complaints to the National Labor Relations Board are commonly filed in union disputes.

Tesla workers are not represented by a union. The UAW this year began supporting workers seeking to organize at the Fremont plant, where employees have raised concerns about safety and low wages.

Among those fired this month were engineers, factory workers, and sales and administrative staff. The company said the dismissals, which employees have estimated to be between 400 and 1,000 workers, were based on annual performance reviews. Tesla refused to say how many employees have been fired.

Some of the ongoing dismissals include former SolarCity employees, a company spokesman told this news organization. Tesla acquired SolarCity for $2 billion in November.

The worker turmoil comes as Tesla is trying to expand production of its new Model 3 sedan, but only produced 260 cars last quarter. It has a backlog of about 450,000 orders for the lower cost electric vehicle. And major automakers are moving quickly to produce new, long-range electric vehicles to compete with the Palo...

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