Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are famously resistant to labor unions, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is no different. But the billionaire mogul is now facing a unionization push by workers at the California factory that makes Tesla electric vehicles — and Musk is fighting back in the press.
In a Medium post published Thursday, Tesla factory worker Jose Moran explained why he reached out to the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) to unionize the Tesla plant. Moran alleged mediocre pay, unsafe working conditions, and long hours formed part of the basis for the union drive.
"Most of my 5,000-plus coworkers work well over 40 hours a week, including excessive mandatory overtime," Moran said. "The hard, manual labor we put in to make Tesla successful is done at great risk to our bodies. Preventable injuries happen often."
Musk responded that same day to Moran in harsh terms in a direct message conversation with Gizmodo. He described Tesla as "union neutral," criticized Moran's post as "morally outrageous," and said that Tesla's 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."
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