'Your Turn': United Auto Workers Launches Campaign to Unionize Tesla

After the UAW won contracts with the Big Three, it's seeking to unionize 150,000 workers across a dozen companies including Tesla.
'Your Turn': United Auto Workers Launches Campaign to Unionize Tesla
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The United Auto Workers plans to unionize a dozen U.S. and foreign automakers, including Tesla Motors, in an organizing campaign encompassing “thousands” of workers, the union stated in an announcement on Wednesday. The campaign follows the UAW’s successful strike in its contract negotiations with Big Three automakers over the last months, in which workers won raises of up to 33 percent. 


“To all the autoworkers out there working without the benefits of a union, now it’s your turn,” said UAW president Shawn Fain in a video released on Wednesday. “Go to The money is there. The time is right. And the answer is simple. You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your rent or feed your family while the company makes billions. A better life is out there.” The release stated that thousands of non-union workers were already signing union pledge cards on the website. 

The companies that the union plans to organize include Mercedes Benz, Toyota, and Tesla, as well as other companies in the EV sector. After the UAW strike concluded, Toyota and other manufacturers raised their wages by around 10 percent, which Fain called the “UAW bump.” 

Workers at Tesla in the U.S. are not unionized, though some facilities have made initial efforts towards organizing and faced retaliation for doing so. They had thus far not been affected by the strike. 

However, Tesla repair technicians in Sweden went on strike earlier this month after Elon Musk refused to meet and bargain with their union. German automotive sectoral unions have also been working to unionize Tesla's gigafactory in the country, and won workers a four percent pay raise after holding informational events about unionization in the factory. Labor experts told Motherboard at the time that the surge of Tesla labor organizing in Europe, combined with the UAW’s success in the U.S., could open doorways for U.S. Tesla workers to organize. 

Do you work at Tesla? Do you know more about this union drive? We’d love to hear from you. From a non-work device, you can contact Jules Roscoe at or on Signal at (415) 763-7705 for more security.

“Unions are organized on an international level,” said Branislav Rugani, the international confederal secretary for French trade union Force Ouvrière, in a phone call to Motherboard at the time. “They talk amongst themselves. When they return to their respective countries, they organize on a local level.” 

The UAW’s drive is expected to cover almost 150,000 auto workers across “at least thirteen” companies, the union’s press release stated. It named as targets the German automakers Volkswagen, Mercedes, and BMW; the Asian automakers Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru, and Mazda; and the EV automakers Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid.