Tesla Strike Is a Culture Clash: Swedish Labor vs. American Management

The Tesla technicians who walked off their jobs in Sweden say they still support the mission of the American company and its headline-grabbing chief executive. But they also want Tesla to accept the Swedish way of doing business.

They call it the Swedish Model, a way of life that has defined the country’s economy for decades. At its heart is cooperation between employers and employees to ensure that both sides benefit from a company’s profit.

Instead, four technicians who walked off their jobs on Oct. 27 said, they have been subjected to what they described as a “typical U.S. model”: six-day workweeks, unavoidable overtime and an unclear evaluation system for promotion.

“Just work, work, work,” said Janis Kuzma, one of the technicians on strike.

The union representing the Tesla workers, IF Metall, won’t say how many of the company’s 130 technicians have walked out — it may be only a few dozen. The company’s 10 service centers remain open.

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