Danish union plans sympathy strike with Swedish Tesla workers
Tesla’s labor headache in Scandinavia may not stay isolated in Sweden.
This week, Danish labor unions announced their plans to launch a sympathy strike against Tesla if the electric vehicle company doesn’t sign a collective bargaining agreement with its 125 striking Swedish mechanics.
Denmark’s 3F transportation union said it wants to join Swedish union IF Metall’s quest to put more pressure on Tesla.
“IF Metall and the Swedish workers are fighting an incredibly important battle right now,” 3F Chairman Jan Villadsen said. “When they ask for our support, we are of course behind them.”
If his union does launch a strike, it intends to stop transporting Tesla vehicles and parts from Denmark to Sweden.
The announcement marks a significant development in Tesla’s struggle to keep its facilities nonunion.
The fray began in late October when Swedish mechanics at Tesla voted to unionize with IF Metall. After negotiations with Tesla failed to produce a collective agreement, IF Metall led the mechanics to the picket lines.
Soon other Swedish labor unions launched sympathy strikes. The first to join the mechanics were the Swedish dockworkers, who pledged to stop the importation of any Tesla products into the country. Swedish postal workers followed suit, saying they would no longer deliver Tesla’s mail.
A Swedish court recently ruled that postal workers must deliver license plates to Tesla under Swedish law.
Despite the victory over the mail carriers, Tesla has to worry about the possibility that its business in Scandinavia could come to a screeching halt. All Scandinavian countries have high union representation, with over 70% of Danish workers, 50% of Norwegian laborers and 70% of Finnish employees represented by a union.
News of the expansion is likely not sitting well with Tesla’s anti-union CEO Elon Musk. Recently, when asked about unionization at Tesla, Mr. Musk reaffirmed his position that he doesn’t think unions fit at Tesla.
His company has “no lords and peasants,” he said. Everyone eats at the same table. Everyone parks at the same parking lot. At GM, there’s a special elevator only for senior executives. We have no such thing at Tesla.”