BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In a letter addressed to both the President of Empire State Development and the Vice Chair of the Fort Schuyler Management Corporation, New York State Senator Sean Ryan is calling for an investigation into the recent firings at Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo.
Tesla Workers United says more than 30 employees were let go earlier this month. They say this occurred after workers there announced efforts to organize.
On the company’s website, Tesla subsequently posted a statement saying that allegations of the firings being a response to organization efforts were false.
“Tesla conducts performance review cycles every six months,” the statement read. “Employees receive a performance rating from 1 to 5 in each cycle that helps them calibrate their work with the expectations of their job.”
The organizations addressed in Ryan’s letter “are contractually obligated to provide oversight of Tesla’s employment numbers and enforce penalties related to hiring benchmarks,” according to a news release from his office.
“This incident makes clear that the state’s failure to mandate labor neutrality as a condition of the subsidies was a mistake, and demonstrates the importance of doing so for companies receiving similar subsidies in the future,” Ryan said.
In the letter, Ryan said “Considering it took Tesla years to meet their job commitments – which they must maintain – it strikes me as counterproductive that the company would have a standing plan to reduce staff twice per year.”
You can read Ryan’s letter in its entirety here.
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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.