Tesla, Its Workers, and Alleged Union Organizers Tussle Over Conditions At Fremont Factory

As Tesla prepares for Model 3 production and up to 10-times planned growth, its Fremont, Calif. factory workers are complaining of low pay, safety risks, and long hours.

Tesla, which has about 6,200 non-union employees, also makes workers sign confidentiality agreements which are coming under scrutiny by California legislators.

For its part, Tesla says it proactively takes good care of its workers.

“The safety and job satisfaction of our employees here at Tesla has always been extremely important to us,” said a Tesla spokesman to The Mercury News. “We have a long history of engaging directly with our employees on the issues that matter to them, and we will continue to do so because it’s the right thing to do.”

Tesla also reportedly blamed employee complaints as being the result of professional union organizers’ activity.

According to The Mercury News, it was the workers who initiated contact with the United Auto Workers union, and potential organization efforts are underway, it says without citing any UAW spokesperson for the record.

The local paper described an employee with four years on the job who says he otherwise likes Tesla, as saying Tesla typically pays between $17-20 per hour when national average rates are $25.58 per hour. The worker, Jose Moran, said he has to work long hours, in cases 60-70 hours per week for the job he commutes to three hours per day, and it’s tough to make ends meet in the Bay Area.

“Ironically, many of my coworkers who have been saying they are fed up with the long hours at the plant also rely on the overtime to survive financially,” Moran wrote.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Briefly Shutting Down Fremont Plant To Prepare For July Model 3 Production

Moran said a few months ago, six out of eight members of his team took medical leave from work-related injuries.

“I hear coworkers quietly say that they are hurting but they are too afraid to report it for fear of being labeled as a complainer or bad worker by management,” Moran wrote.

As for the non-disclosure agreements, Tesla lawyer Todd Maron wrote that Tesla respects rights of workers to freely communicate, but the purpose is to keep product launches and vehicle features secret.

The confidentiality agreement all employees are required to sign was also called into question by five California assembly members.

“The breadth of the agreement appears to violate employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by both promulgating overly-broad work rules directed at employees’ union or concerted activities,” the assembly members wrote in a Jan. 10 letter.

Presently Tesla is in process of a $1 billion expansion for the Model 3, a car which must shave production costs severely to come in profitably.

Tesla otherwise says it is acting in good faith all the way around, and noted it is the largest provider of manufacturing jobs in the state of California.

The Mercury News


More Hybrid News...