Amid the high flying excitement over reports that Tesla will begin pilot production of Model 3 on Feb. 20, two days before the company is expected to report earnings, comes a public outcry from a Tesla factory worker citing tough working conditions are prompting workers to consider unionizing.
Jose Moran, a production worker at Tesla’s Fremont, California plant, describes long hours and low pay being offered by the Silicon Valley-based electric car company have caused him and many of his colleagues to be “fed up” and in need of union support. “Many of us have been talking about unionizing, and have reached out to the United Auto Workers for support. The company has begun to respond. In November, they offered a raise to employees’ base pay — the first we’ve seen in a very long time.”, says Moran.
Though Moran indicates that employees at the factory were required to sign confidentiality agreements barring them from speaking publicly about wages and working conditions, he nonetheless took to Medium to describe his account of life at the Tesla factory.
“Management actions are feeding workers’ fears about speaking out. Recently, every worker was required to sign a confidentiality policy that threatens consequences if we exercise our right to speak out about wages and working conditions. Thankfully, five members of the California State Assembly have written a letter to Tesla questioning the policy and calling for a retraction.”
Moran makes it clear that he’s proud to be part of the team and believes that Tesla is one of most innovative companies in the world. “We are working hard to build the world’s #1 car — not just electric, but overall.” But at the same time, Moran emphasizes that the issues at hand go beyond receiving “fair pay”. “Injuries, poor morale, unfair promotions, high turnover, and other issues aren’t just bad for workers — they also impact the quality and speed of production. They can’t be resolved without workers having a voice and being included in the process.”, notes Moran.
At a time when Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking every initiative to double the size of its factories while maximizing production efficiency, and putting added pressure on staff to realize his vision for a green future, Moran notes that Tesla can’t lose sight of the well being of its devoted employees.
“Tesla isn’t a startup anymore. It’s here to stay. Workers are ready to help make the company more successful and a better place to work. Just as CEO Elon Musk is a respected champion for green energy and innovation, I hope he can also become a champion for his employees. As more of my coworkers speak out, I hope that we can start a productive conversation about building a fair future for all who work at Tesla.”
Updated: Elon Musk responds to the allegations. Gizmodo reports more as seen here.