Tesla Inc. factory workers have contacted the United Auto Workers in an effort to form a union, according to a blog post at online publishing site Medium by a man claiming to be an employee.
“Many of us have been talking about unionizing, and have reached out to the United Auto Workers for support. The company has begun to respond. In November, they offered a raise to employees’ base pay — the first we’ve seen in a very long time,” said the poster, who identified himself as Jose Moran, a worker at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., plant for the past four years.
Employees work “well over” 40 hours a week, including “excessive mandatory overtime,” Moran wrote.
The post criticized the Tesla
factory’s work environment as conducive to injuries and said Tesla is paying salaries “near the lowest in the automotive industry.”
“The issues go much deeper than just fair pay. 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.
A Tesla spokesman said it wasn’t the first time the company has been “the target of a professional union organizing effort such as this.” Officials at the UAW did not immediately return a request for comment. The Fremont facility is Tesla’s only auto plant.
“We have a long history of engaging directly with our employees on the issues that matter to them, and we will continue to do so because it’s the right thing to do,” Tesla said.
The spokesman neither confirmed nor denied whether Moran was an employee or former employee.
Tesla has set a goal to sell half a million cars by 2018, an effort that will hinge in large part on its mass-market Model 3 sedan.
The company last month said it sold 76,230 vehicles in 2016, falling short of its goal of 80,000.
Tesla has said it aims to begin producing the Model 3, expected to cost around $35,000, in July, and be ready to launch sales later in the year.
More than 370,000 people placed $1,000 reservations for the car in the first days that preorders were accepted. Tesla has not updated Model 3 reservation numbers.
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Tesla is expected to report fourth-quarter results after the bell Feb. 22. Analysts polled by FactSet expect the company to report an adjusted loss of 44 cents a share, which would compare with a loss of 87 cents a share in the year-ago period. Sales are seen increasing to $2.2 billion from $1.7 billion a year ago.
Tesla shares have gained 81% in the past 12 months, handily beating the S&P 500 index
which gained 25% in the same period.
According to news reports, UAW officials contacted Tesla plant workers last spring. Tesla bought the 5.3 million-square-foot factory in 2010, remodeling it before the first Model S sedan rolled off the factory floor in 2012.
Before being sold to Tesla, the plant was home to General Motors Co.
and Toyota Motor Corp.’s
New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc (NUMMI) from 1984 until that partnership ended in 2009. At its height under NUMMI, the plant produced 500,000 cars per year, according to the Tesla’s website..