Tesla denies false allegation of employee layoffs at Giga New York in Buffalo due to their desire to join a union. The decision to fire employees was before they announced their union campaign. Only one of the 27 fired was involved in the union campaign.
Today, a number of reports surfaced that Tesla had fired dozens of employees at its factory in Buffalo, New York allegedly because they started a union campaign. In fact, the reports contained false information, and denigrated the name of the company and Elon Musk himself, while not having hard evidence. In response to the false accusations, Tesla released a statement detailing the situation and refuted the fictitious information.
The company said it conducts performance review cycles every six months around the world. One such cycle was completed in December 2022. Approximately 4% of the Autopilot labeling team in Buffalo was laid off as a result of this performance review cycle. The affected employees were identified on February 3, 2023, well before the announcement of the union campaign. In addition, only one of the 27 affected employees is officially recognized as a member of the trade union campaign. (The text of the statement is included in the article in full below).
There is a false allegation that Tesla terminated employees in response to a new union campaign. These are the facts behind the event:
- Tesla conducts performance review cycles every six months. Employees receive a performance rating from 1 to 5 in each cycle that helps them calibrate their work with the expectations of their job. In the worst case, if an employee fails to meet their performance expectations they will be let go.
- This review process takes place globally, including in North America, Europe, China, etc. It is not localized to Buffalo.
- The most recent performance review cycle was from July 2022 through December 2022. On December 13th, 2022, managers across the company received a communication regarding the review schedule. This included information noting that exits for low performers would start the week of February 12, 2023.
- Approximately 4% of the employees on the Autopilot labeling team in Buffalo were exited as a result of this performance review cycle. The employees let go as part of this process received prior feedback on their poor performance from their managers over the course of the review period. Despite feedback, they did not demonstrate sufficient improvement.
- The impacted employees were identified on February 3, 2023, which was well before the union campaign was announced. We became aware of organizing activities approximately 10 days later. We learned in hindsight that one out of the 27 impacted employees officially identified as part of the union campaign. This exercise pre-dated any union campaign.
- The labeling team in Buffalo, NY has been growing over the last several months at an average rate of around 10 employees a week. Over the last 6 months, the department's employee base has grown 54%, from 437 employees to 675 employees as of the beginning of this week.
- The reason there is time monitoring for image labeling is to improve the ease of use of our labeling software. Since its purpose is to calculate how long it takes to label and image, there is nothing to be gained by delaying bathroom breaks. The claim that Tesla pressures employees to do so is categorically false.
Our employees in Buffalo are core to our mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy, helping to build Superchargers, Solar Roof and power electronics for many applications.
© 2023, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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Article edited by @SmokeyShorts; follow him on Twitter
About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.