A Unionized Model for Clean Technology Manufacturing

From the AFL-CIO

About 400 Tesla workers in Buffalo, New York, could soon become card-carrying members of the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW). An organizing drive kicked off in freezing temperatures this morning to educate workers coming and going into the plant. “We want to have a voice at Tesla so that we can have a better future for ourselves and our families,” said Aaron Nicpon, a member of the organizing committee.

The USW and IBEW are working with both the production and maintenance employees at the Tesla solar panel factory in a joint organizing drive. The plant is on the site of a former steel mill.

What’s unique about this campaign is that the USW and IBEW have partnered with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Coalition for Economic Justice to promote the importance of unionized green jobs.

“This historic USW site will be the model of how emerging clean technology manufacturing can provide such an opportunity for its workers,” said USW District 4 Director John Shinn.

Tesla promised to create 1,460 jobs in Buffalo, including 500 at this factory, within two years of the site’s completion, in exchange for $750 million from the state of New York.

“I wanted to work at Tesla because I wanted a job in green energy, a job that can change the world,” said Rob Walsh, another member of the organizing committee. “But I also want a fair wage for my work.”

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Posted In: From AFL-CIO, Union Matters

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