Swedish Tesla strike goes international as Norwegian and Danish unions join in
'He can't just make his own rules,' Danish labor leader says of Musk
Swedish Tesla employees have gone on strike, and unions in neighboring Denmark and Norway have joined boycotts of Elon Musk's electric automaker.
Danish union 3F and Norway's Fellesforbundet, the largest private-sector unions in their respective nations, both announced plans this week to get in Tesla's way.
3F, which covers multiple industries in Denmark, has limited its sympathy strike to its Transportation arm, which union chair Jan Villadsen explained will mean transportation workers at docks, including drivers, won't unload or transport Tesla vehicles bound for Sweden.
"Even though Elon Musk is one of the richest people in the world and owns Tesla, he can't just make his own rules," Villadsen declared on Tuesday when announcing 3F's action. "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."
Fellesforbundet leader Jørn Eggum echoed Villadsen's sentiments in a Wednesday announcement that his union will also launch a boycott aimed at stopping the transportation of Teslas into Sweden.
"In the Nordic countries, there is broad agreement about the importance of a well-organized working life," Eggum noted. "The right to demand a collective agreement is a natural part of [that], and we cannot accept that Tesla stands outside this."
3F and Fellesforbundet's sympathy strikes will begin on December 19 and December 20, respectively, if a collective agreement between Tesla and employees represented by Swedish automotive worker union IF Metall isn't in place.
IF Metall workers in Sweden – where Tesla doesn't manufacture vehicles but has a number of repair and service shops – have been on strike since October after what they described as years of Tesla refusing to bargain with the union. IF Metall-represented employees claim Tesla hasn't guaranteed them good wages, a pension or insurance.
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Tesla has long refused to bargain with unions, with CEO Elon Musk recently opining that he disagrees with the entire concept of organized labor, as you can see below.
"I just don't like anything which creates a lords and peasants sort of thing," the world's richest man told the New York Times DealBook Summit. "I think the unions naturally try to create negativity in a company." He added "If Tesla gets unionized it will be because we deserved it, and because we failed in some way."
Unions across Sweden have banded together to cripple Tesla. Swedish port workers have pledged to block imports, electricians have refused to work on damaged Tesla chargers or at the vehicle builder's facilities, painters and builders have declined to work for Elon's products and properties.
Postal workers even decided not to deliver mail to the electric automaker, including license plates – an action that Musk called "insane". The local court has since put a stop to that action - although we're now told that the postal strike may be back on after an appeal.
It's unknown whether Tesla plans to take further action to stop the strikes, or whether it'll cut its losses and bargain with employees – we asked, but didn't hear back. ®