Tesla workers agitating for a union have gone to the company’s board to make their demands clear.
Employees at the electric automaker’s Fremont factory have been agitating for a union since Jose Moran, a production associate at Tesla’s Fremont factory, wrote a January Medium post detailing difficult work conditions at the flagship plant. The bulk of the demands have since centered on getting new equipment to reduce workplace injuries.
The Tesla Workers’ Organising Committee, which is leading the unionization effort, said in the Monday letter that it was raising the issues to the board because these issues “remain unresolved” after approaching Tesla management.
“We have raised these issues repeatedly, but they remain unresolved,” the letter reads. “Your guidance navigating them would be invaluable as we work to become the most profitable and productive auto company in the U.S.”
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter asks Tesla to inform employees of the risks associated with working at the factory, make safety audits readily available, and allow Fremont workers to have a voice in the company’s safety plan.
The committee sent the letter three days after Tesla’s Model 3 handover party, which marked the start of production for the company’s first mass-market sedan. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Friday the company will enter six months of “production hell” for the Model 3.
“We urge you to make our safety your priority as Board members, to demand information from management about health and safety issues in the factory, and to hold management accountable to best practices,” the letter reads.
The committee also calls on Tesla to release clear policies on how Fremont factory workers can get promoted, adding that “there are no guidelines for what is expected of us, or what defines success.”
In April, the United Auto Workers and three Tesla employees filed separate charges with the National Labour Relations Board claiming the company has coerced employees trying to aid the unionization effort into silence.
“Remember that we are invested as shareholders in the company’s future too,” the letter reads. “Perhaps more importantly, if we have a voice we can identify problems and solutions in the Model 3 production process and help us all succeed at this critical stage in our company’s history.”
Some Tesla factory workers claim they have experienced gruelling work conditions during the start of new vehicle production, particularly with the Model X, which was severely delayed and went through a voluntary recall. Tesla has struggled to produce cars on time, ultimately resulting in long hours in difficult conditions, workers say.
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