Elon Musk, United Auto Workers Union Spar Over Tesla Factory Conditions

The United Auto Workers union signaled Friday that it’s gathering support to unionize Tesla’s assembly plant in Fremont, Calif., after someone claiming to be an employee of the automaker publicly criticized the company over factory conditions.

The UAW confirmed Friday that Tesla workers “have approached the UAW, and we welcome them with open arms.”

The union said those workers included Jose Moran, who published a blog post Thursday on a site called Medium alleging that “preventable injuries happen often,” workers are forced into “excessive mandatory overtime,” dissent is stifled and compensation is inadequate.

He did not provide any evidence for his claims, but his public call for the formation of a UAW chapter at the factory drew attention in automotive circles.

Tesla’s factory south of San Francisco is the only assembly plant owned by an established American automaker that is not unionized. All General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler plants in the USA are unionized in stark contrast to foreign automakers that have established non-union plants in the USA, many of them in the South.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk disputed Moran’s claims in a Twitter message Thursday to tech blog Gizmodo. He wrote that mandatory overtime is limited, compensation is sufficient and the accusations are “morally outrageous.”

“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 said without providing evidence.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Nathan Bomey

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