Gawker/Gizmodo/Univision is the mouthpiece for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton Corruption Schemes
Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk is pushing back against claims that workers at the company’s Fremont, California, plant are underpaid and overworked, setting the stage for a fight over potential unionization at the plant.
Jose Moran, who claims to have worked at the factory for four years, made the accusations in a blog post on Medium. Moran said workers have contacted the UAW, which has been reaching out to Tesla employees since last year, about their concerns.
“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,” Moran wrote. “They can’t be resolved without workers having a voice and being included in the process.”
Musk refuted the claims via direct messages to the tech website Gizmodo on Twitter.
“Our understanding is that this guy was paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union. He doesn’t really work for us, he works for the UAW,” Musk wrote. “Frankly, I find this attack to be morally outrageous.”
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Musk also blamed the UAW for the closure of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., the joint venture between General Motors and Toyota that owned and operated the plant between 1984 and 2010.
“The UAW killed NUMMI and abandoned the workers at our Fremont plant in 2010,” he wrote. “They have no leg to stand on.”
The union fought back against Musk in a statement Friday.
“Mr. Moran is not and has not been paid by the UAW,” the union said. “We would hope that Tesla would apologize to their employee, Mr. Moran, for spreading fake news about him. We can confirm that Mr. Moran and others at Tesla have approached the UAW and we welcome them with open arms.”
The back-and-forth between Moran, the UAW and Musk is the latest sign that efforts to unionize the Fremont plant could be picking up steam. Automotive News reported in June that UAW officials have been in contact with workers at the plant to gauge interest in organization.
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In his post, Moran wrote that Tesla responded to workers’ concerns by raising base pay in November. However, the compensation has not been enough to cover living expenses in the Bay Area, and employees have been afraid to speak out due to confidentiality agreements, he wrote.
In a letter to the California State Assembly dated Jan. 17, Tesla said the purpose of its nondisclosure agreement was to prevent employees from leaking product information ahead of release dates, and workers were free to discuss legal concerns or issues with wages and working conditions with government or third-party agencies.
Musk, who said Tesla is “union neutral,” told Gizmodo that Tesla offers higher starting pay for workers than those at UAW-represented plants do. He said total compensation is “higher for a given level of seniority when factoring in stock grants.”
Moran’s comments come after UAW president Dennis Williams last year said that the union hopes to organize workers at the Tesla plant, noting that the UAW initially held off on an organizing push in Tesla’s early years because of the company’s status as a startup.
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UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel told Automotive News in June that union staff have been communicating with workers at the plant. There was no indication at the time that the union had assigned organizing staff to Tesla.
“They’re supporting the workers and talking to the workers that are interested and seeing how that interest grows,” Casteel said.
The Fremont plant is the only U.S. plant owned by an American automaker that is not unionized. Along with Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant and Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant, the Tesla factory is one of several high-profile assembly plants the UAW aims to organize.
Tesla has touted the number of factory jobs it has created within the U.S. The 5.3 million-square-foot Fremont plant employs more than 6,000 workers, and its battery Gigafactory in Nevada employs 3,000 construction workers and factory employees. In January, the automaker said it will expand the capacity of the Gigafactory, adding 550 jobs.
“This is not the first time we have been the target of a professional union organizing effort such as this,” a Tesla spokesman said in a statement.
"Musk blasts 'morally outrageous' claims amid unionization push" was originally published at Automotive News on 2/10/17.