Elon Musk responds to employee's accusatory blog post


27 Feb 2017

Elon Musk's investigation into Tesla factory working conditions

Following an accusatory post made on Medium by Tesla employee and union advocate Jose Moran earlier this month, Elon Musk shared the results of his investigation into working conditions at Tesla Motors.

The results, which were communicated by email to all Tesla employees, addressed all the concerns raised by Moran, and touched upon additional employee benefit features and schemes.

Moran hopes Elon Musk becomes a champion for employees

"Just as CEO Elon Musk is a respected champion for green energy and innovation, I hope he can also become a champion for his employees," wrote Moran in his blog post.


Jose Moran's accusations

Jose Moran's accusations

Moran raised several concerns, pointing out that machinery in Tesla isn't ergonomically compatible with workers' bodies and advised improvements to prevent injuries.

He pointed out that Tesla pays $17-21 per hour to its workers, while the average auto industry worker earns $25.85 per hour in the US.

He criticized mandatory overtime work, and said that the management was clamping down on efforts to unionize.

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Moran on the management's crackdown

"Recently, every worker was required to sign a confidentiality policy that threatens consequences if we exercise our right to speak out about wages and working conditions," wrote Moran, criticizing the management's crackdown on efforts to unionize.

Investigation pt.1

Musk's reply to Moran's claims

Musk rubbished Moran's claim which said three-fourths of his team were injured, calling it "untrue" for every team in the factory.

Addressing issues of overtime work, Musk said that additional employees had been hired for a third shift at the factory, and that overtime work had declined by 50% since 2016 when Tesla was under-pressure to meet production targets for the complicated Model X.

Tesla's TRIR is less than half of the industry average

"Since January 1st, our total recordable incident rate (TRIR) is under 3.3, which is less than half the industry average of 6.7. Of course, the goal is to have as close to zero injuries as humanly possible, so we need to keep improving," wrote Musk.

Investigation pt.2

Tesla workers earn up to $100,000 more

Tesla workers earn up to $100,000 more

Addressing issues of pay and compensation raised by Moran, Musk said that Tesla employees, over a period of four years, earned between $70,000 to $100,000 more in total compensation than employees of other automakers like Ford and General Motors.

Musk also talked about "Fun" where he mentioned frozen yogurt stands and an electric roller coaster to help employees travel quickly around the factory.

The difference in compensation between Tesla and other automakers

In a chart, Elon Musk demonstrated that over four years, Tesla employees, including all equities and benefits, earned $357,721, compared to $257,546 at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, $285,389 at Ford, and $287,607 at GM.

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