Elon Musk’s Tesla denies ‘retaliatory firing’ for union campaign by employees

Tesla has said that workers laid off in New York state were cut as part of a performance review cycle, rejecting claims the layoffs were retaliation for efforts to organize a union. 

Tesla (TSLA) said late Thursday that it cut around 4% of the employees at its Buffalo site who worked on the Autopilot labeling team—part of its driver-assistance features—as a result of a regular cycle of performance reviews. 

Earlier this month it was reported that employees at the Buffalo facility had started a unionization effort. The Workers United Upstate New York union subsequently said in a filing to the National Labor Relations Board that more than 30 employees had been laid off by Tesla in retaliation for the organizing efforts.

“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,” Tesla said, in a statement on its website.

Tesla stock was down 0.2% in premarket trading on Friday.

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