As Tesla looks to ramp up production for the rollout of its Model 3, factory workers are asking the company to unionize.
Jose Moran, an employee at Tesla’s Fremont factory for the last four years, wrote a Medium post stating that factory workers are asking to unionize because of difficult work conditions and long hours.
In the post, Moran says “preventable injuries happen often” because the machinery is not compatible with workers’ bodies. Moran said the extra physical movement required to operate the machinery has led several employees to take medical leave.
Moran also said employees work well over 40 hours to meet production goals, often putting in 60 to 70 hours per week due to “excessive mandatory overtime.” Tesla has had difficulty meeting production deadlines in the past, most notably with the Model X.
Tesla factory employees have reached out to the United Auto Workers to form a union. Moran said Tesla has started to respond to worker concerns by raising workers’ base pay. Tesla workers make anywhere between $17 and $21 an hour, but also face a higher cost of living than most factory workers, Moran said.
A Tesla spokesperson confirmed in a statement that employees are looking to unionize. Tesla’s full statement reads:
“As California’s largest manufacturing employer and a company that has created thousands of quality jobs here in the Bay Area, this is not the first time we have been the target of a professional union organising effort such as this. The safety and job satisfaction of our employees here at Tesla has always been extremely important to us. 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 declined to comment on the allegations regarding workplace injuries and overtime.