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Tesla’s Standoff with Swedish Workers Is Escalating Dramatically

The automaker is facing mounting logistical problems.

Tesla is having union problems in Sweden and the situation is escalating dramatically. 

IF Metall represents Tesla mechanics who walked off the job last month after some five years of trying to reach a deal with the EV maker. According to the union, collective agreements are the "backbone" of Swedish labor, because the nation doesn't have minimum wage laws.

A report from Business Insider says Tesla is paying less than industry averages, though the union is also pursuing improved pensions and insurance benefits.

According to Reuters, Tesla doesn't manufacture in Sweden, but the EVs are serviced by some 120 union mechanics.

The automaker is facing mounting logistical problems as the unionization effort has spread, and other unions have joined in solidarity.

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The biggest impact seems to be coming from the dockworkers, who, for weeks, have refused to unload Tesla vehicles at four key ports. Last week, the dockworkers extended the effort to all ports. 

Swedish ports reportedly received up to three shipments of Tesla cars per week. Since the strike started, that number of arrivals has dropped to zero.

The Swedish Building Maintenance Workers' Union also joined the fight, refusing to clean Tesla showrooms and service centers, according to Wired. 

Postal workers have threatened to stop delivering mail and spare parts to the company and, on Friday, electricians stopped service and repair work on Tesla charging stations across the country.

According to IF Metall, collective agreements are the basis of Sweden’s labor model wherein trade unions and employers determine the rules of the game without interference from the state and politicians. In Sweden, about nine out of ten workers are covered by these agreements.

Tesla mechanics are receiving strike pay that matches their full time compensation. 

When asked why they joined the fight, the maintenance workers’ union said, because they asked us to.

Tesla is reportedly fighting back. According to IF Metall, the carmaker has been flying in workers from other countries to cross the picket line.

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