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Teamsters Call on Calif. Panel to Reject SpaceX's Request for Subsidies

Teamsters Joint Council 7 Joined by California Labor in Calling Out Elon Musk’s Companies for Poor Record of Worker Rights, Safety and Health

(SAN FRANCISCO) – Teamsters Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise and California labor allies are calling on the California Employment Training Panel to deny a request set to be considered at its meeting this morning that would grant Space Exploration Technology Corp. (SpaceX) some $655,500 in government subsidies. 

The letter, sent to the Employment Training Panel’s Acting Chairperson Janice Roberts, states that as the recipient of billions of public dollars over the past decades for his companies, Elon Musk has used those dollars to “run businesses that tamp down on the collective bargaining rights of employees and disregard the safety of workers.” 

The letter was signed by Aloise, California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Officer Art Pulaski, Alameda County Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Ortega-Toro and Working Partnerships USA Executive Director Derecka Mehrens.

The letter notes an administrative law judge ruled last September that Tesla violated the National Labor Relations Act in 2017 when it illegally threatened and retaliated against workers who supported a union. Musk also violated Alameda County rules by reopening the luxury automaker’s plant in Fremont this week despite the county’s health concerns over COVID-19. 

In stark contrast to Musk’s companies, Teamsters Local 853 represents workers at Gillig, the last wholly owned and built-in-America bus manufacturer, which is adhering to state and county health guidelines for COVID-19 and working with the union to ensure workers are protected.

“Gillig is a company that in the past actually had the opportunity to get subsidies to operate outside of California, and turned them down, instead building a state-of-the-art facility to employ more union workers in Livermore. Musk’s companies have already amassed billions in corporate welfare and are seeking more during a pandemic,” Aloise said.

The authors noted in the letter, “At a time when too many hardworking Californians are lined up in miles-long food bank lines trying to feed their families, Mr. Musk is looking to fatten up at the public trough once again. He has a proven track record of enriching himself and his companies instead of being a good corporate partner who understands the value of operating a fair workplace. He and his company SpaceX are not deserving of taxpayers’ dollars.” 

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