Following the new effort to unionize Tesla’s workforce amid the production expansion for Model 3, CEO Elon Musk claimed it was an organized push by the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) to take back the factory.
The effort started with claims of poor salaries and working conditions in a statement from an employee and despite Musk first reducing the claims to a tactic by a “union agitator”, he now says that he is conducting an investigation of the claims made in the statement.
In a Twitter message to Gizmodo yesterday, Musk said that he will publish the results later this week:
“I’m doing an investigation right now. Fremont production management was in poor shape and not able to scale about a year ago. I think we’ve made a lot of progress since then. If there are areas that you are hearing are still not great, I would love to hear feedback on that,”
Tesla has indeed roughly doubled the production rate over the last year, but that has little to do with the claims made by the employee calling for a union.
They have more to do with low wages and a work environment prone to injuries. That’s most likely what Musk is investigating here.
Former employees have reached out to us about the higher than average injury rate at the Fremont factory. One employee even told Electrek that the rate was as much as four times higher than the industry average just over a year ago, but the company has been focusing on the problem.
Long work weeks, often 60-hour weeks, can increase the risk of making mistakes or result in exhaustion, which in turn can lead to medical leaves.
It will certainly be interesting to see what Musk learns from his investigation. We should know more later this week.