Tesla Workers Tell Tales of Overwork, Passing Out in Factory

James Marshall
May 19, 2017

Some workers at Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)'s vehicle factory in California are unhappy with working conditions, according to a report from The Guardian. The Guardian has published an investigation into the working conditions inside Tesla's big auto manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, and the results are intriguing.

Tesla revealed that it did everything to enhance working conditions by adding a strong program to assist injured workers and recover from work-associated maladies.

Tesla has admitted that its recordable incident rate, a measure of injuries and illnesses reported to workplace safety regulators, was well above the industry average from 2013 to 2016 but says this year, things have changed and those rates have reversed to being 32 per cent better than average. He believes his newly-founded Boring Company is actually the right answer, and makes a few statements to back all this up.

Tesla went on to says that such reports ignore safety data from 2017, which it outlined in a handful of data points. The tunnels would also likely be compatible with another one of Elon Musk's concepts - the Hyperloop. Workers pulled 12-hour shifts, sometimes seven days a week.

While Musk conceded that employees have been "having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs", he suggested that Tesla's valuation reflects an underlying optimism, not any corporate ruthlessness on his part. Since tunnels are now very expensive to create, costing as much as $1 billion per mile, the bottom dollar must be reduced by a factor of more than 10.

He pegged that difference at $70,000 to $100,000 per year.

Tesla's stock has soared by more than 40% this year based on investor optimism about prospects for the company's first mass market vehicle, the Model 3.

He said most of his 5,000 plus coworkers work well over 40 hours a week, that machinery is not ergonomically compatible, and there is a shortage of manpower and "a constant push to work faster to meet production goals." . That means more employees, more capital spending and, nearly certainly, more effort from current employees.

The union told Bloomberg in February that it had a paid labor organizer in California, but that there was "nothing abnormal" about that, UAW President Dennis Williams said.

That cushion should give the company some near-term breathing room from needing to tap Wall Street for cash, said CFRA Research analyst Efraim Levy.

CHECK OUT: How safe is Tesla Autopilot?

Tesla has plans to ramp production to 500,000 vehicles by the end of 2018, up almost 500% from current production rates.

Most of the self-driving technologies work as the companies involved plays different roles, for instance, one company provides the cars and another company provides the technology.

In other words, statistical claims from any company are worth verifying-especially when they come in the heat of an unwelcome PR battle. It's just a question of how much money we lose.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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