Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Fremont factory is the only US car assembly known that has not joined or is represented by a union from all the American car manufacturers. This is one of the points that Tesla feels is not right.
Tesla recently changed their plans to show that they were aiming at making half a million cars at the factory by 2018, two years earlier that what had originally been planned. The news brought the United Auto Workers to the Fremont factory as they expressed their interest in helping to unionize the factory workforce. The move could be interpreted as an opportunistic move at the time by the UAW so that they can help increase their numbers or simply a move to help stop the exploitation of workers at the Fremont factory by Tesla.
The President for the Union, Dennis Williams said they only moved now because they had been respecting Tesla’s startup status. The new production rate that the electric car manufacturer was targeting would make them one of the biggest car manufacturers in the modern day, even bigger than BMW and Mercedes. The notion that Tesla is aiming to become bigger is right, but would it justify unionization? In a press conference earlier last week, Williams said that they were monitoring the situation at Tesla closely. He said he believed that workers everywhere ought to have choices, and they were willing to provide that.
The issue of having its workers unionized might just rile the company up in a bad way, especially since the company acts more as a technological company rather than a car manufacturer.
The Fremont factory also protects its workers more than most that are even represented by unions it is believed. Cal/OSHA is already preemptively protecting the workers from various occupational hazards, and this is in a state which has some of the hardest worker laws and the highest minimum wage in the US. Tesla is also occasionally scrutinized for their work standards by the media more than other automakers because they are held to higher standards. A recent report came out which showed that Tesla hired a subcontractor who paid workers $5 per hour, to which Tesla CEO, Elon Musk replied with photo evidence on his Twitter account that the company had paid $55 per hour.
The location of the company is also important. Rather than being located in traditional manufacturer locations such as Tennessee or Michigan, the company is in Silicon Valley. It clearly shows that the company is not affected by much of the automotive industry, and it has a different mission than what other car manufacturers have.
Tesla employees also say that the company is lovely with only one bad side, the long hours. Starting salaries on the production floor are $17 per hour though they can increase according to the growth in equity and the working hours are believed to be 12 hours a day for five days a week.
When asked about the long hours, a Tesla spokesperson responded that Tesla workers worked the hardest because the issue of changing the world was not a 9 to 5 job. The issue of long hours is made clear to all applicants for Tesla jobs the spokesman said.