back to article Tesla hit with official complaint over factory conditions

Electric carmaker Tesla has been hit with an official complaint from the US National Labor Relations Board following allegations from a number of employees that it was illegally blocking union activities. On Thursday, no fewer than five cases against the company were moved forward and the NLRB sent an official complaint to …

  1. John McCallum

    A bent Union Boss.

    They also frequently referenced the same scandal that Tesla pointed to: the indictment of the former union head at Fiat Chrysler in July for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars from the union.

    Alphons Iacobelli used the funds to buy himself extravagant gifts including a $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, two gold $35,000 Montblanc pens, and a new swimming pool and kitchen for his home, according to the US attorney's office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

    Earlier this week, another senior union official, Virdell King, pled guilty to purchasing $40,000 worth of designer shoes, clothing, jewelry and other personal items, having been encouraged by Iacobelli to use union credit cards to buy items they wanted.

    This is why a lot of Usians think most Unions are nothing but crooks out to fill their own pockets.

    I hope they get a very long time in prison

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: A bent Union Boss.

      Indeed, we've seen union boss corruption from the earliest days of unions here in the States. Nothing unusual, except maybe occasional disappearance of the union boss. Hoffa comes to mind among others.

      1. rh587

        Re: A bent Union Boss.

        Indeed, we've seen union boss corruption from the earliest days of unions here in the States.

        It's not just the US either.

        e.g. Arthur Scargill - who started with a large union and a small house, and managed to finish with a small union and a large house.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A bent Union Boss.

          Arthur Scargill - who started with a large union and a small house, and managed to finish with a small union and a large house.

          And a lifetime of the union paying rent on a Barbican Flat that he tried to buy under the Tory "right to buy" even though he wasnt the leaseholder

          And a life peeragee from Tony Blair

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: A bent Union Boss.

      Any time people are in power over an organization that has a lot of money coming in, corruption is possible. The more unchecked the power and the more money coming in, the greater the likelihood of corruption. You see it everywhere from businesses, governments, churches, charities, hospitals and so on if there aren't good controls in place.

      Obviously if he was able to spend money on a Ferrari - and more importantly believed he could get away with spending money on a Ferrari - there were either no checks in place at all or people were afraid to speak up because he wasn't just a thief, but a gangster.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A bent Union Boss.

      This is why a lot of Usians think most Unions are nothing but crooks out to fill their own pockets.

      It goes earlier than this to the roaring 20-es and the days of the Prohibition when the mob literally took over the leadership of several large unions and used them as one of the many enforcement levers. "Such a nice shop you have there, wonder what will happen if it does not get any deliveries". During the building boom after the war they also took over most of the construction unions for the same reason. While the mob has contracted in other areas like drugs, smuggling, prostitution, it has never retreated there. The union (especially the construction ones) is their turf. You do not ask questions on where 10% of the building supplies have vanished. Unless you want concrete shoes. You do not try to haggle prices on how much it costs. Unless you want concrete shoes. And so on.

      By the way there is no way any real estate developer (including Orange Ones) has not had any dealings with this lot too. You do a big building project - you have to cooperate with the mob as presented by the construction workers unions.

      Most Americans have run into those or personally know someone who has run into them - hence the attitude.

      In any case, by the standards of the construction mob, sorry union, these corrupt automotive union officials are boy-scouts.

      1. 404 Silver badge

        Re: A bent Union Boss.

        US railway unions are the same and are scary - done some work for one of them and I wouldn't cross them in any way, shape, or form.*

        *Consider how many folks get run over by trains. Trains. Big, loud, heavy, run fixed routes, yet people on foot still get run over or 'commit suicide'. Weird, eh?

        No coat - I was never here....

    4. paulf Silver badge

      Re: A bent Union Boss.

      The Ferraris and swimming pools I can understand but, "two gold $35,000 Montblanc pens". Seriously? Who TF spends THIRTY FIVE GRAND on a bloody pen, never mind the same again on a second one?

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge

    unions could be beneficial

    unions could be beneficial if they simply acted like contracting agents, while simultaneously getting good wages+working conditions for the employees, as well as good benefits, etc.. everybody wins, right?

    but that would make too much sense [and doesn't have enough corruption in it]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: unions could be beneficial

      For once I must agree with you. The moment Unions started to become more about power than about sensible worker's rights was when they lost credibility.

      Anyone who lives in London will remember the transport union strike to reinstate a tube driver found drunken on the job, which serves IMHO as a perfect example.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: unions could be beneficial

        Warning! Offensive lyrics.

      2. returnmyjedi

        Re: unions could be beneficial

        If I could just brush aside your straw man for a moment, the strike was voted for two reason. Firstly that London Underground were using dated breatherlyser equipment that had been shown to throw up false positives on individuals with diabetes, which the driver at the centre of the strike suffered with. Secondly LU refused to follow their own procedure and perform a secondary analysis that was part of their own policy. The RMT can be over militant at the best of times, but in this instance they were completely in the right.

      3. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: unions could be beneficial

        The problem with unions being non political is what do you do when the people go to congress to lobby against unions or worker rights ?

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @Bombastic Bob ... Re: unions could be beneficial

      Unions are an anachronism.

      100 years ago, the employees were open to abuse and harsh conditions.

      Over the past 100 years, laws were enacted to protect workers.

      Unions provide no value and in fact, workers make less in union shops than they do in non union shops when you consider the cost of the Union dues.

      Consider that in Wisconsin, the Governor removed unions from public service workers. (You could be a member of the Union, but it was not compulsory. ) Union membership dropped dramatically.

      And to think that you *need* Union protection from the Government as your employer? (Think about that for a second....)

      Unions are not needed and a source of revenue for corrupt individuals.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: @Bombastic Bob ... unions could be beneficial

        "Unions are not needed and a source of revenue for corrupt individuals."

        Ian Michael Gumby, your brush is too wide your example too narrow, try a ballpoint pen like this "A union as a source of revenue for corrupt individuals is not needed". See how it helps to understand it all.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          @Lars Re: @Bombastic Bob ... unions could be beneficial

          In the US, those who join unions do so in an effort to avoid work.

          I never understood it until a friend who was in a union explained it to me.

          Where I live, we have 2 building engineers. At one time, we had one engineer who was in a union, the other was not. Our building got picketed because the Union was told that we were threatening the employees and not allowing an outsider to meet with them while they were working. So the union called in all of these people to come on down and harass and threaten our residents.

          Here's the facts...

          1) We are a residential building with 3 employees and contract the services for janitorial and security.

          2) We do not allow outsiders who are not here on the request of a resident to come into the building.

          (Note: This is why Union organizers who wanted to meet with 'staff' were told no.)

          3) The only engineer who isn't union laughed at them because we provide better benefits and salaries than what he could get from the Union. So why should he pay union dues? (The other engineer who was older was in the union before coming to our building.)

          4) When the union rep who requested to meet with the one employee who isn't a manager or in the union already, the building manager offered her office, and yet the employee declined. Union Rep then claimed he was coerced to say no. (No evidence to that fact)

          So... I don't have a high opinion of Unions here in the US. In Europe, Unions are a bit different.

          Unions provide no benefit or protection for the employees where they are protected under the law.

          I gave you the example of the Government employees under the union. Just look at Wisconsin... 'nuff said.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Lars @Bombastic Bob ... unions could be beneficial

            So... I don't have a high opinion of Unions here in the US. In Europe, Unions are a bit different.

            Not in my experience, but I've only been around for a couple of decades, I might have missed something. That's also because I have always worked in environments with extreme demands for confidentiality, and that tends to conflict with union membership for reasons of control. There is also the fact that good personnel for such places is hard to find, which provides its own employee protection.

    3. shawnfromnh

      Re: unions could be beneficial

      most unions nowadays don't get you as much as they cost and if you go on strike you loose and you have to strike.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: unions could be beneficial

      Most of them are. Most of them you'll never have heard of.

      It's the ones that aren't which taint the pool.

  3. joea

    But, what about . . .

    But, but, what about them?

    You know, those Corporate Tit-ans whose compensation packages would shame King Midas? Whose "exit packages" may reward incompetence or malfeasance?

    Sure Unions can be corrupt, but then, they are lead by Humans, are they not?

    Full disclosure, I was a union member at one job. When I was not renewed, due to a dispute with a "manager", after years of glowing performance reviews, the union rolled over and did nothing at all for me.

  4. the-triggerer

    Green statists' silence speaks loudly

    I specifically wanted to check out the comments to this article because I suspected green statists won't have much to say - this unpleasant news being about their favorite tax-robbing company Tesla.

    Lo and behold, there's nothing but comments against the "corrupt" unions.

    Progress before rights!

    1. fruitoftheloon

      the-triggerer: Re: Green statists' silence speaks loudly


      I have tried to figure out what you are prattling on about.

      I failed...

  5. 404 Silver badge

    My reason for believing unions can go suck a bag of dicks

    Back in the eighties, I was a heavy equipment operator working on a 15 mile section of the Central Arizona Project (CAP - brought Colorado River water down to Tucson). Good money, all the OT I could handle, and we were nearing the end of the our section. Company I was working for lost the next bid round and another company got the next 15 mile section, so I went to visit their office and was told to go see Mr. Pretentious Asshole, an equipment crew supervisor in the field. I located him and gave him my resume/inquired about a job.

    That sonuvabitch looked me up and down like I was a bug and said 'I ain't having no fucking scabs on my fucking jobsite, you just go on home, scab.'

    Cue incredulous surprise at an attack from an unexpected direction. I left his fucking jobsite, drove home, and sat down in front of the tv before I got mad. I didn't even know they were union, not a real issue since Arizona is a right to work state (good and bad, I'm ok with it). This was the BI era (Before Internet) but we had the Yellow Page Phone Book, with the government phone number blue pages - I let my fingers do the walking and ended up at the Arizona Attorney General's office. They didn't take kindly to some Eastern construction company breaking Arizona law and THEY made some phone calls - I'm winning, not a familiar place.

    Fucking company called me up the next day and made me the offer they were legally held liable for - For the princely sum of 1500 1980's dollars, I would have the honor of becoming an Official dues paying Union member and be placed of the bottom of the jobs list. I would be there, working my way up the list by not working, for 3-5 years before I actually got a job.

    This is why I believe unions, as a whole, can go suck a bag of dicks.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @404 Re: My reason for believing unions can go suck a bag of dicks

      Yup, you get it.

      Others don't. Unless you've seen or experienced the negative side of unions... you just know them from a conceptual point of view.

      Take the Unions who cover employees of the state.

      They take money from employees who are not in the union, claiming that they can do this because said employee benefits from the collective bargaining they do on their members behalf. Said revenues pay for Union's political lobbying where said employee, who's not a union member is still paying in but without a vote. (Yeah, its illegal, but its up to a judge to decide and some are very liberal.)

      When Gov. Scott Walker bused the unions in Wisconsin, the unions lost over 50% of their members because the employees didn't want to be members of the union.

      It gets worse when you start to look at cases around the US of Union abuses.

      But hey! Everybody loves those Unions... yeah right...

  6. Lars Silver badge

    You get the unions you deserve

    To make it short. Treat your workers like trash and you get "militant" unions and so forth.

  7. Boohoo4u

    It wouldn't be so bad if the union boss (after ripping Americans off) bought American. Buying the Ferrari was a bit to much of a slap in the face to let stand...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like the standard Marxist storyline

    Utopia of no polluted car. (yes no CO2 or smoke out of the engine )

    Sell the big hype;

    Receive massive tax money,

    Still making massive loses,

    the toy is only for the upper elite,

    and the workers are monitored like in the DDR

    and the Boss has to be worship like a living god.

    Socialism tatataaaaa

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Like the standard Marxist storyline

      Thats not socilaism thats greenist fascism and US working conditions which the rest of the world looks at, scratches their heads and say "yeah, whatever, fucking idiots"

      It would help if you USAians learned what socialism actually was before trying to demonise it.

  9. strum Silver badge

    And, of course, no manager/CEO was ever corrupt. Oh no!

    Unions get into the news when something drastic goes wrong (and the story is then repeated, over and over again, for decades, as if it were typical).

    Their boring drudgery, on behalf of exploited/bullied/mistreated workers, doesn't get reported quite so much.

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