UAW, the United Automobile Workers union, said on Friday that it had been approached by workers at Fremont, California, assembly plant of Tesla, refusing a charge by Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of the electric car making giant, that a worker who publicly censured the automaker was on the UAW payroll.
Moran doesn’t work for Tesla but UAW: Elon Musk
The new move to organize the factory of the automaker shines an unwanted limelight on allegations of preventable injuries, mandatory overtime and long hours at a time when the electric carmaker is accelerating production to meet ambitious targets.
On Friday, Jose Moran, a 43-year-old worker, said that his goal was to unionize at the factory where he has been working since 2012, frequently pulling 12-hour days, six days a week. During a conference call, Moran told reporters, “A lot of workers believe we have a right for union representation and a right to represent ourselves and our own interest. We don’t believe the company is doing that for us.”
The UAW said earlier in the day that Moran had never been paid by the union. The union said that we can confirm that Mr. Moran and others at the electric car making giant have approached the UAW and they welcome them with open arms. The Fremont Factory of the electric carmaker was once a UAW-represented operation that was owned by General Motors but it became non-union when the automaker took over in 2010.
On Thursday, Musk told the website Gizmodo that Moran was paid by the UAW to join the electric carmaker and agitate for a union. Musk said Moran does not really work for them but he works for the UAW.” Moran, in his defense, said that he had been congratulated by fellow factory workers since publishing a blog earlier this week citing mandatory overtime, workers being paid less than the auto industry average and preventable injuries at the plant.
Here’s why Tesla makes employees sign confidentiality agreements
The team of Moran works on the luxury electric car, the Model S sedan, of the automaker. Moran said a lot of people have been shaking his hand, congratulating him. He added that they are glad that someone spoke up.
On Friday, in a video posted to the “Fair Future at Tesla” Facebook page, Moran said that employees spend more time at work than at home and they “do not feel they can report health and safety issues. Moran said “Tesla workers are fed up.” Moran told reporters that around 200 workers of the automaker are on the social media site with more support every day. A Tesla spokesman didn’t return a call for comment.
In comments reported by Gizmodo, Musk said there is mandatory overtime sometimes but it is tapering off. The starting wages of the automaker are higher than UAW starting pay, said Musk and added that employees even receive stock grants. The CEO said confidentiality agreements are meant to prevent company secrets from leaking.