News & Commentary

January 4, 2024

Michelle Berger

Michelle Berger is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s News and Commentary: Tesla faces solidarity strikes in northern Europe, hundreds of workers are leaving The Washington Post, and the United Steelworkers union is attempting to block the purchase of U.S. Steel by a Japanese company.

A comprehensive article in the Washington Post last week detailed the sustained labor actions that have been targeting Tesla in Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark — and highlighted the differences between Nordic and American labor law. The origin of the dispute is in Sweden, where Tesla technicians are on strike demanding a collective bargaining agreement. The article reports that 65 percent of Swedish workers are unionized and 90 percent are covered by CBAs, which fill an essential role in a country that lacks, for example, minimal wage laws. At this point, tens of thousands of Nordic workers are taking action to pressure Tesla: port workers in Norway and Sweden are refusing to process Tesla shipments, Danish truckers won’t make Tesla deliveries, and in Sweden, cleaners, electricians, and waste collectors are all withholding their labor and services from Tesla. If Tesla recognizes a union in Sweden, it could be an infliction point for a company led by vocally anti-union Elon Musk. In November, the UAW announced its intention to organize Tesla in the United States.

Journalists are leaving the Washington Post amid a period of financial strain and labor unrest at the historic newspaper that was purchased by Jeff Bezos in 2013. The newspaper’s management offered buyouts in the fall, and suggested that employees would face layoffs unless 240 employees took the offer. As a result, the Washington Post Guild told the Washingtonian, more employees expressed their intention to leave than management expected.

The United Steelworkers union is attempting to block the purchase of U.S. Steel by a Japanese company. The union is lobbying a bipartisan group of lawmakers to pressure regulators to block the deal on national security grounds. It is also contending that the deal occurred in violation of its CBA with the company.

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