The UAW has been talking for years about unionizing at Tesla. It's doing so again.

By: Sebastian Blanco

Unusual for an American automaker, Tesla has a domestic manufacturing plant without a union. Tesla says that it takes good care of its workers at its Fremont facility, despite the lack of worker protections that come with unionizing. Even immigrant workers doing construction at the site are taken care of, as a recent injury case made clear. But this lack of a union in Fremont might not always be the case. The president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), Dennis Williams, said yesterday that the UAW remains interested in unionizing at Tesla.

Williams said the UAW is watching Tesla "very closely," but not in an aggressive manner. "We just believe workers ought to have a voice in the workplace, and they ought to have collective bargaining rights," he said, according to USAToday.

The UAW has been interested in getting unionized workers into Fremont for many years, even before the Model S went into production. With the automaker's recently announced accelerated production timetable of 500,000 vehicles a year in 2018 – and the implied workforce growth that will come with that – the number of reasons for the UAW to get interested just got a lot bigger.

Last year, Tesla bought the former UAW hall near the Fremont factory. Tesla declined to comment to USAToday about the issue.


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