News & Commentary

December 20, 2022

Travis Lavenski

Travis Lavenski is a student at Harvard Law School.

New York City Uber drivers went on a 24-hour strike yesterday; Tesla allegedly fired workers for criticizing the company and CEO Musk

Uber drivers in the Big Apple went on a 24-hour strike on Monday after the company sued to block pay raises scheduled to take effect this week according to the NYTWA union, which advocates for some 21,000 taxi and rideshare drivers in the city. The raises, which were approved by NYC’s Taxi & Limousine Commission last month, were scheduled to increase driver pay by up to $0.18 per mile for an average yearly boost of $3,800 per driver. In a legal complaint filed against the TLC, Uber called the raises “dramatic, unprecedented and unsupported.” A federal judge temporarily halted the pay increase because of Uber’s suit. “[M]ake no mistake, we’re not crying in a corner,” Executive Director of the NYTWA Bhairavi Desai said in response to Uber’s lawsuit. “We’re readying to fight the small-hearted pettiness of a billionaire company that just doesn’t want to see its workers survive.” The union stated yesterday that it surpassed over 5,000 drivers taking part in the strike, not including customer boycotts. In response, Uber appeared to attempt to coax some workers to cross the picket line with surging bonus pay throughout the city.

Tesla has allegedly fired two workers for writing letters critical of Tesla and of Elon Musk’s tweets, according to a complaint filed with the NLRB. The workers were part of a larger team who authored two letters to be circulated internally. The first letter was critical of Tesla’s strict return-to-work policy, while the second letter complained that Elon Musk’s “gendered and sexualized” tweets violated the company’s anti-harassment policy. The workers were terminated before the letters were released internally. The workers filed complaints with the Board alleging that Tesla unlawfully terminated them for engaging in protected concerted activity. This is not the first time Elon Musk, who has ostensibly been a vocal advocate for free speech, has been charged with muzzling his workers. MorePerfectUnion recently released this short video from a worker who was unlawfully terminated from Tesla for speaking about forming a union.

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