Scandinavian unions say Musk ‘can’t just make his own rules’

Swedish auto mechanics have been on strike against Tesla  since Oct. 27 to win a collective bargaining agreement. The auto company, which does not have any plants in Sweden, has several repair shops. IF Metall, the union that represents the workers, has been trying for years to get Tesla to agree to a contract. Union members want contract language guaranteeing good wages, pensions and health care benefits.

Tesla strikers outside a service center in Umeå, Sweden.

Tesla boss Elon Musk might have become even more unpopular than he already was when he said, “I just don’t like anything which creates a lords and peasants sort of thing.” Musk implied that it’s unions that create class inequality — a pretty outlandish statement coming from one of the richest people in the world who owns his own space transportation company.

Next Musk called Swedish postal workers “insane” for refusing to deliver mail to the anti-worker company. ( Dec. 7)

Sympathy strikes are planned for Dec. 19 by Danish dockworkers represented by the 3F union and for Dec. 20 by the Norwegian union Fellesforbundet and the Finnish transport workers’ union AKT, when members of those unions will refuse to unload Tesla vehicles.

“Even though Elon Musk is one of the richest people in the world and owns Tesla, he can’t just make his own rules,” said 3F union chair Jan Villadsen on Dec. 5. “We have some agreements on the labor market in the Nordics, and you have to comply with them if you want to do business here.”

Meanwhile, Tesla workers in California have responded favorably to a new drive by the United Auto Workers union to organize all the nonunion auto plants in the U.S.


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