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Elon Musk targets labor union he believes is attempting to destroy Tesla

Tesla employee accuses the company of dangerous working conditions, low pay, and excessive overtime.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Feb 10, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 12:38 am CDT

Yesterday, a Tesla employee wrote a post on Medium calling out the company for low pay, poor working conditions, and excessive overtime. He specifically asked that Elon Musk become “a champion for his employees” to build a fair future for those who work at Tesla.

Musk isn’t buying it.

The Tesla CEO responded to the claims through private messages with Gizmodo, calling Jose Moran, the Tesla employee, an agitator working for the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) to sabotage his company.

“Our understanding is that this guy was paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union,” Musk said. “He doesn’t really work for us, he works for the UAW.”

Moran also wrote in his post that Tesla had attempted to extinguish any attempts at unionizing.

“Many of us have been talking about unionizing, and have reached out to the United Auto Workers (UAW) for support… But at the same time, management actions are feeding workers’ fears about speaking out,” Moran wrote. “Recently, every worker was required to sign a confidentiality policy that threatens consequences if we exercise our right to speak out about wages and working conditions.”

Musk responded by calling his company “union neutral.” He also shot down the claim that Tesla pays its employees less than other auto manufacturers, saying the company pays even more than those in the UAW. 

“Frankly, I find this attack to be morally outrageous,” Musk told Gizmodo. “The UAW killed NUMMI and abandoned the workers at our Fremont plant in 2010. They have no leg to stand on.”

The UAW called the allegations that Moran was paid by the union as “fake news,” in a statement sent to CNBC

“Mr. Moran is not and has not been paid by the UAW,” the statement 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.”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

H/T Gizmodo

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*First Published: Feb 10, 2017, 5:54 pm CST