Tesla Factory Workers Underpaid, Overworked?

7 months ago by Steven Loveday 79

Tesla

Tesla’s Expansive Fremont Factory

Not long ago, the UAW sent an organizer to the Tesla Fremont factory to speak with interested employees. The UAW has sought the electric automaker for some time, but the final straw came when a Tesla employee wrote a letter and made a video complaining about conditions in the workplace.

Tesla

Tesla employee, Jose Moran, drafted a letter and produced a video complaining of workplace concerns at the Fremont factory.

Jose Moran was the gentleman that started the ball rolling (but it really never rolled). He is one of only four Tesla employees since 2014 to come forward publicly with concerns. The other three filed separate suits with the National Labor Relations board, all of which were privately settled, and the organization did not accuse Tesla of any wrongdoing.

Four employees out of over 6,000 … And even though Moran came forward recently and it was widely publicized, it didn’t push anyone else to come forward. The opportunity was there, the press was involved, the UAW showed up, but nothing.

Among the four employees, support for the company and its vision and efforts was stressed, amid the complaints. This tends to be the norm for Tesla. The Silicon Valley automaker’s employees are generally supportive, proud, and excited to work for such a unique company, and if you do the math, the number of complaints, divided by the number of employees, supports this reality.

Nevertheless, the UAW wants to see Tesla organized. Its belief is that the employees don’t have a voice, and are concerned to speak out. According to the UAW, there have been many more complaints, they just aren’t going public.

With so many monumental efforts ahead, Tesla employees may feel overextended, and work long hours, and the UAW believes that compensation is minimal, especially when considering the exorbitant cost of living in the San Francisco Bay area. Others argue that Tesla employees chose to work there, no one is forcing them to stay, and they are there because they want to be a part of something historical.

A former UAW staffer and retired Detroit-area auto worker shared:

“I’m sure everyone in California wants to see Tesla succeed. But when you raise production, that translates into more pressure for workers on the shop floor. Tesla has clearly learned some lessons from NUMMI. When NUMMI operated, it was considered a very productive plant and the employees had to run to keep up with the assembly line.”

Tesla Model S at company’s Fremont factory

Professor at the University of California-Berkeley, Henry Shaiken, told WardsAuto:

“What you have is two very different cultures … On the one hand you have the entrepreneurial startup culture of Silicon Valley represented by Tesla, and on the other hand you have the culture of the factory floor represented by the UAW.”

He points out that Tesla assembly line workers start at $17 per hour, with raises to $19, and they get some stock options, but the stock is minimal.

However, if you look at the stock price from just a few years back (see below), where it is today, and where it is headed, those employees are faring pretty well. Workers that have been with Tesla since early on have a very nice nest egg due to their stock options. Musk shared a chart with his employees showing that “total wealth delivered” by Tesla, to its employees, far exceeds that of competing automakers.

One might note that after crossing the $300 level this week, Tesla’s shares (TSLA) are up almost 1,000% over the past years….so it doesn’t take “a lot” of share ownership in 2013 to equate to a sizable amount in 2017 (via Yahoo FInance!)

Shaiken is also concerned that Tesla’s non-disclosure agreements may have employees tight-lipped about unfair labor practices. He explained that employees are not allowed to talk about anything that happens at work or related to work:

“I doubt that’s legal under the National Labor Relations Act.”

Tesla, along with several employees that have come forward, have explained that the agreements are only in place to protect confidential information. CEO Elon Musk assures that the company is not asking employees to remain silent about their jobs. It’s just important that they don’t disclose trade secrets, or give away upcoming reveal details ahead of press releases.

Regardless of the UAW’s involvement, it seems that nothing is changing quickly. Shaiken said he was surprised that Musk accused the UAW of planting people, or putting employees up to complaining, but he agrees that:

“The UAW effort is clearly only in its beginning stages.”

Though, he does hope that Tesla is going in the “right” direction, and that if there are problems, or if issues arise due to upcoming Model 3 production pursuits, the automaker will make it right. He concluded (in reference to Musk’s email to employees validating the lack of problems, and the fact that they are getting a roller coaster at the Fremont factory):

“I don’t think a roller coaster is going to fix that.”

Source: WardsAuto

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79 responses to "Tesla Factory Workers Underpaid, Overworked?"

  1. Assaf says:

    It really pisses me off to see the article displaying such a blatant pro-boss, anti-worker bias.

    In particular, what do you mean by only “4 employees out of 6000” have complained???
    Have you tried to put yourself in the shoes of someone suffering poor or unfair working conditions, but knowing that speaking out might have you not only losing the current job, but losing the prospects of never getting hired by anyone else?

    The whistle-blowers and those who speak their truth to power, will always be a small minority. Parading this around as some sort of evidence against them, is ridiculous and shameful.

    Then the issue of stock options. That has been the tech sector’s favorite get-out-of-fair-wages card: let the bubble take care of your earnings. Fact is, usually managers (even junior ones) get multiple times the amount of stock options as regular employees, and those at the bottom of the pyramid get what amounts to pocket change. Fact of the matter, $17/hour is not living wage in the Silicon Valley, and is a pretty lousy wage for a company swimming in cash like Tesla. Which together with reportedly highly stressful environment, might cause high turnout, which of course backfires on Tesla itself.

    Instead of ridiculing this reality, and the workers who came forward, please show some respect and fairness. Musk et al. know how to speak for themselves and do their own PR well enough, they don’t need your help 😉

    Thank you.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      ” is a pretty lousy wage for a company swimming in cash like Tesla”

      You must know something many of here do not.
      How much of a positive profit revenue has Tesla made????

      Please tell.

      1. Assaf says:

        Here’s my tell: Amazon existed and grew immensely for nearly 2 decades before turning a single quarter of profit.

        New and disruptive tech companies with global ambition are not evaluated on profits. Question is, whether they have the cash and momentum to continue to grow.

        Tesla clearly has those, and it can afford to pay and treat its employees better. $17/hour and even $19/hour is well below the nationwide manufacturing average, currently around $26/hour (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t19.htm). Not to mention the SF Bay Area.

        Now, it might be that the employees are wrong or narrow in their treatment complaints. But there’s no need for the author to tack an anti-worker line sans any evidence for that.

        And again, if $17 increasing to $19 is the true figure, then it speaks for itself.

        1. Assaf says:

          Oops, I have misread the table. The average nationwide manufacturing wage is actually above $27/hour now, not $26/hour.

        2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

          “Here’s my tell: Amazon existed and grew immensely for nearly 2 decades before turning a single quarter of profit.”

          I may be wrong but Amazon doesn’t build/manufacture anything, do they?

          1. Timmy says:

            Do you consider software a thing?

        3. Nix says:

          Assaf, you are not calculating Tesla’s numbers correctly when comparing it to BLS data. You are comparing BLS data where Overtime Hours are included, but you have failed to include overtime in the Tesla numbers.

          Mr. Moran has previously stated that 60 hour work weeks are common. Using the BLS methodology, Tesla wages are:

          (19*60) + ((19/2) * 20)
          ———————–
          div by 60

          That makes the equivalent number in BLS terms to be $22.17/hr, with a yearly salary (conservatively based on 48 weeks of work) of $63,840/yr

          This is prior to accounting for the stock grants, which are NOT included in BLS data. TSLA stock grants have increased 900% in value for employees who’s grants have now vested.

          https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cestn.htm#section4b

          1. Nix says:

            Additional information: The median HOUSEHOLD income in the 94538 zip code (Fremont factory) is $68,121.00. Based on Mr. Moran’s statements about hours, and my conservative calculations, Tesla line workers are likely quite close to median household incomes in that zipcode. That is based upon only one household wage earner. With a second wage earner in the household, they could easily be above the median wages for that zip code.

            http://zipatlas.com/us/ca/fremont/zip-code-comparison/median-household-income.htm

          2. Ambulator says:

            From the FAQ page, #24 (linked from the table page):

            How are “wages” defined by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey?

            Answer: Wages for the OES survey are defined as straight-time, gross pay, exclusive of premium pay.

            Included in the collection of wage data are:

            base rate
            cost-of-living allowances
            guaranteed pay
            hazardous-duty pay, incentive pay including commissions and production bonuses
            on-call pay
            tips

            Excluded from the wage data are:

            back pay
            jury duty pay
            overtime pay
            severance pay
            shift differentials
            nonproduction bonuses
            tuition reimbursements

            1. Nix says:

              Ambulator, yes, that is how the numbers are calculated for every industry besides manufacturing. Go back to the link I posted and see how overtime is added back in for the manufacturing industry ONLY:

              “Overtime estimates are calculated for manufacturing industries only. ”

              and

              “Overtime hours are requested for manufacturing industries only.”

              and

              “Total overtime hours of all employees (manufacturing only)”

              and

              “Total overtime hours of production employees (manufacturing only)”

              etc, etc.

              1. Ambulator says:

                But they are talking about a rate of pay exclusive of any overtime premium. I don’t see how it changes anything if you include overtime hours or not.

                1. Nix says:

                  But they are talking about a rate of pay exclusive of any overtime premium. I don’t see how it changes anything if you include overtime hours or not.

                  Ambulator – The rate of pay is INCLUSIVE of overtime premium for manufacturing jobs ONLY. What you read in the FAQ is not the whole story. The FAQ is a summary that is incomplete. The full details of their methodology is actually spread out into multiple docs, many dozens of pages long.

                  When you follow this link into the details, you will see in the “Microdata” that manufacturing jobs (and ONLY manufacturing jobs) are calculated differently than what the FAQ says.

                  https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cestn.htm#section4b

                  The overtime premium increases the average hourly wage to $22.17/hr, because when they are getting overtime they are getting $28.50/hr.

                  I’m not understanding what the problem is. Are you simply believing that the FAQ is the full and total sum of their entire policy, and are you rejecting the “Microdata” section that explains how manufacturing jobs are an exception to all other jobs, and to what the FAQ says?

    2. Someone out there says:

      People are not forced to work at Tesla. They are free to leave at any time. $17/hr is pretty good for unskilled labor

      1. Assaf says:

        FAIL. $17/hour is actually lousy for a manufacturing job. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t19.htm

        1. Not Sympathetic says:

          Bottom line….if $17 is not sufficient, then find another job! Nobody is forcing anyone to work for Tesla. People know the pay and benefits when they start working at Tesla.

          If you want more money and you work for Tesla, then get a higher education in an area that supports Tesla’s mission and get promoted.

          Otherwise….SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!

          1. trololo says:

            You are right on the full length, those stupid and lazy workers with no education do not deserve more than $19/hour.

        2. Stimpacker says:

          LOL FAIL @ Assaf.
          MacDonald’s next? Walmart next?

          Don’t like free market economy?

          What about all the tech and daily goods you buy? Made by slaves in China.

          1. trololo says:

            “free market economy”, really, with tones of incentives and fiscal rebate ? With the NSA providing VW mails just at the right time when GM/Tesla need it ?
            You have learn your lessons well but you are just looking at the shadow in the cave.

    3. SparkEV says:

      Anti-worker? Are those workers forced to work at Tesla with Elon Musk holding a gun at them? All these talk of “anti-worker” is ridiculous. This ain’t North Korea; if Tesla worker doesn’t like it, LEAVE!

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        You’re wrong!

        EM held them at gun point and drove them to the Freemont facility and made them apply.

        /Sarc

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Assaf said:

      “…$17/hour is not living wage in the Silicon Valley, and is a pretty lousy wage for a company swimming in cash like Tesla.”

      The fact that the UAW union agitators are reporting $17/hour as if it’s the average wage for Tesla auto assembly workers, instead of the lowest wage paid to anyone working in the plant, shows just how dishonest the claims of these union organizers are. Even interns report wages of $23-26 per hour (link below), so just who is getting only $17 per hour? The cleaning staff?

      Speaking for myself, such dishonesty is more than sufficient to dismiss everything they’re saying.

      I suggest, Assaf, that in the future you try using some critical thinking and show a healthy skepticism when you read propaganda like this.

      https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Tesla-Motors-Fremont-Salaries-EI_IE43129.0,12_IL.13,20_IC1147355.htm

    5. Dan says:

      Well said Assaf. This story was disheartening both in that Tesla, America’s highest valued car manufacturer would pay its workers just 30% over minimum wage (its $13 / hour in SF) and that insideevs would take such an obtuse view of workers in the industry. This seems to betray the problems EVs have suffered this entire decade: that they are made for, sold to, and subsidized for the rich, a group which contains a large swath of people who believe their privileged makes them superior to others. This is illustrated by both this article and many of the comments on this page. This article makes me less likely to buy a Tesla (I own two non-Tesla EVs at the moment) or to keep this site as my primary source of EV information.

    6. Martin Winlow says:

      Well, what we don’t now is how many of ‘the 4’ are still working for Tesla….

    7. Jim Whitehead says:

      “Fact of the matter, $17/hour is not living wage in the Silicon Valley…”

      “Living wage?” what claptrap. Its a starter wage that ignores stock options and other incentives of working in Silicon Valley. It is acceptable, in fact, because it can find thousands of workers willing to offer their compensation package, like generous stock options and a work environment supportive of educational advancement.

      The typical UAW worker never gets stock options. Are they jealousy about it? Behind the scenes, do UAW bosses say something like: “How dare they offer stuff we can’t get in Detroit. Its making us look bad. Can we make Tesla knuckle under and get rid of it?”

      Stating the obvious, Tesla is simply a Silicon Valley company that offers compensation that IS fitting according to Silicon Valley standards. Either the UAW does NOT understand this, Or perhaps they do, and hope worker are too stupid enough to buy fallacious their arguments. (Earth to UAW: They aren’t stupid and its not passing.)

      —-
      The article doesn’t consider that UAW membership itself is not popular and has been in decline for years. Its a sinking ship. From: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/28/unio-j28.html

      “Unionization rates are now at their lowest level in the US in 100 years. According to a study by two Rutgers economists, the 1916 US unionization rate was 11.2 percent. While public sector unionization showed a tiny rise in 2014, the private sector unionization rate collapsed to just 6.6 percent.”

      The UAW angered many young workers and many quit after right-to-work laws passed in Michigan. These are the majority of Tesla’s line workers, who are unlikely to join in California. The article notes:

      “…As a consequence of its betrayals, UAW membership has plummeted; it is now down to less than 400,000 compared to 1.5 million in 1979. In anticipation of a further massive decline once workers are no longer compelled to pay dues, the UAW forced through a 25 percent dues increase at its constitutional convention last year.”

  2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    UAW is a cancer that will eventually kill it’s host unless the host takes the jobs out from the state into a right to work state.

    Remember the job banks at GM?
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/12/unraveling-the-uaw-job-bank/

  3. q says:

    “Tesla employees chose to work there, no one is forcing them to stay” seems like a weird argument in a world where, generally speaking, you need a job to live (& getting hired elsewhere after quitting is far from certain)

    1. SparkEV says:

      Tesla isn’t the only company in the world to get a job. You can be an idiot and quit without having another job lined up, or do what everyone else does; get another job, then quit. Most people are not mentally deficient morons, no need to treat them like one.

      1. Assaf says:

        …and there’s even less need to write while pretending you are one of these morons.

        News flash: slavery as an official form of “employment” had ended in the US in 1865 (unfortunately there’s still some, in particular via sex trafficking of trapped and kidnapped young women).
        Anyway, your drivel about “no one is forcing them to work” is meaningless.

        In any society and surely a democratic one, there are ground rules regarding fair wages and fair treatment of employees. Some of these are set in stone, some are cultural, societal and political norms.
        Pretending those don’t exist, turns this thread into a pile of S**T. You know damn well that they exist.

        1. energymatters says:

          The 13th Amendment actually does NOT eliminate slavery.

          “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

          The allowance is in case of Criminal conviction. A criminal conviction which can be at any level, municipal/county through to federal.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I think it can reasonably be argued that prison inmates forced to work on chain gangs were a legal form of slavery. According to Wikipedia that practice continued in some Southern states until 1955, with more recent short-lived attempts at revival.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_gang

            So far as I know, Tesla doesn’t force anyone to work on a chain gang. 😉

        2. Stimpacker says:

          So Tesla workers are poor, suffering slaves that can only be rescued by the UAW?

          Omg, Assaf….

      2. Ocean Railroader says:

        I hate people say Oh it’s so easy to go get another job. I have been trying for over five years to get another job and it still haven’t

        I have filled out over four hundred job applications and only three to four job interviews. And even then they falsely tell you about how much the job pays. Where you think that you might get 14 a hour but it turns out to be only 40 cents more then your making at your current low wage job.

        Any who who says there is a tightening job market needs to be thrown in the street and shot.

        1. Nix says:

          Employment is regional, just like real-estate.

          The labor market may not be tightening in your region, or in your labor market, even while the rest of the nation is indeed seeing significant tightening in labor.

          It is not a lie to correctly identify that overall, labor is tightening in the majority of labor markets across the US. Even if your local market may not be seeing the tightening locally.

        2. JIMJFOX says:

          Your employment prospects would rise dramatically if you improved your English.

        3. Martin Winlow says:

          I wonder if your last sentence might have anything to do with why you can’t get a job…?

    2. Nix says:

      “seems like a weird argument in a world where, generally speaking, you need a job to live (& getting hired elsewhere after quitting is far from certain)”

      That is why most people secure employment elsewhere before leaving their job. And why we have unemployment insurance and other social services for people who lose their jobs.

      A free job market REQUIRES a certain percentage of unemployed workers. It is a side-effect of our free market for jobs, which is a problem typically solved by social programs in first world nations. The only way to avoid this inherit drawback, is to have a different type of job market that is not a free job market. One where everybody is assigned a job, like in a communist job system.

      I don’t think Tesla is going to single-handedly fix known faults inherit in the free markets for jobs.

  4. Short_Tesla says:

    GREED, Fan boys are blinded by their own GREED.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      EXACTLY!

      That’s why there are jobs so the greedy people can make money and more money so they can employ more people.

      Or would you rather the gooberment just keep giving away money and jobs leave the country?

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Short_Tesla said:

      “GREED, Fan boys are blinded by their own GREED.”

      …says the guy whose own screen name proclaims him as someone who hopes Tesla will fail so he can make money off the failure.

      Hypocrisy, much?

  5. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    I’ve worked in manufacturing for umpteen years.

    Floor workers generally have one job and it’s to install one widget onto a thingie.
    T do so, a conveyor brings the thingie to you and you use a preset torque driver that autofeeds the screw to the tip and the line worker screws in the screw to mount the widget.
    At best there are 2 to 3 different sized widgets but the kanbans change as the product line switches to a different model thingie.
    So the line worker doesn’t even need to move out one kanban to another, just keep putting in the screws.

    A lot of engineering went into designing that job so there were no mistakes where 2% human error was calculated and you mean to tell me that something like that needs $17/hr????

    I’m pretty sure there are someone(s) at Tesla who install the tires (mechanically lifted) and use a 5 or 6 lug automated tool where they just position the gantry counter weighted tool and it bolts it in at the proper torque. Mindless work.
    Oh wait, they have to barcode something so the conveyor can move on, that must be the need for the $17/hr……lol

    IMHO, that’s not a “Career” and it should be minimum wage. You could train a San Quentin inmate to do that. That’s why manufacturing left the US.

    1. Paul K says:

      I don’t know why you’re so full of hate and think you’re so superior to everyone else. Yup you can move those jobs out of the country and you move considerable consumer demand with it. Most factory workers spend everything they make so the lower the wages the lower the demand in the local economy. Today’s Mr & Mrs. Cratchit use birth control. Can’t earn a living. Don’t have any kids. Declining enrollment in schools and failing local busineses come next. I have been self employed most of my life and have never worked in a factory but I’m not an arrogant snot like you.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        “I have been self employed most of my life and have never worked in a factory but I’m not an arrogant snot like you.”

        Maybe you should go visit a manufacturing facility and watch for the full 8hrs to educate your ignorance on the subject?

        “Yup you can move those jobs out of the country and you move considerable consumer demand with it.”

        lol, yeah and that happened to GM and Toyota when they closed NUMM right?
        Or did it happen when they moved manufacturing to Mexico and elsewhere???
        Nope, they still sell boatloads of products and probably a higher profit margin.

        If one realizes there’s no growth in their work place one should be smart enough to get a better job somewhere or acquire the skills to be able to get a better job.

        “the lower the wages the lower the demand in the local economy”
        When wages increase, history has proven that jobs leave. So with less jobs, what happens to your local economy? I think many from Detroit can answer that for you.
        People go into business to make money not lose money. Are you “self employed” to lose money or to make money?

        You can call it greed but in actuality, in this business climate, it’s called “Surviving”.

        “I’m not an arrogant snot like you”
        Too kind, I’m just a troll that has been in manufacturing long enough to know what jobs are like in that environment.

        Let me give you another example. Do you think the job that does nothing but apply adhesive to shipping boxes, seals them and slaps a label on it for 8hrs a day require $17/hr?

        lol, someone else puts the products in the box at the same wage.

        1. Paul K says:

          You do make some valid points here so there’s no point in getting personal (on my part) but I do wonder how we are going to function economically in the future, if a sizable segment of the population is no longer employable.

          My electric car is part of who I am; an early adopter always looking for ways to improve my business and the health of my community. Electric cars will be job killers too. Simpler to build requiring less labour and much less service to keep in use.

          I do consider my business as part of a community and am grateful that chance and circumstances have given an occupation. Taking a line from Vonnegut’s “Player Piano” I look at the downtrodden and think: “There but for the grace of god go I”

          Low wage earners can not afford the product I service so the more good paying jobs in my community, the more I prosper. There you have it.

          1. JIMJFOX says:

            “There but for the grace of god go I”

            “There but for good fortune, hard work & 15 very tough years of education, go I”

            1. JIMJFOX says:

              Not forgetting the willingness to get off my a$$,
              see the light, emigrate to where opportunity was screaming out & give my family an immeasurably better future…

              1. Paul K says:

                True or so true. You have to have the smarts and the willingness to work hard and build your career. The self employed route has been no cakewalk to be sure. But no one chooses to be born and some perhaps many arrive with handicaps that limit intellectual potential. No matter how hard I work I’ll never be an Elon Musk.
                I do consider an economy like a living body. If the fingers don’t give a damn about the toes getting gangrene then trouble lies ahead.

        2. Kdawg says:

          I don’t know how much work it is for your boxing hypothetical, but I think people that pick fruit in fields for 8 hours/day should be paid $15/hr. I don’t think they get near that, and average near minimum wage. It’s not so much the ‘skill’ required, it’s the ability to hunch over in the hot sun for 8 hours/day picking.

          1. Nix says:

            Fruit pickers are usually paid per crate that they pick and fill, not on an hourly rate. So how much they can make is based on how fast they can work.

            This of course discourages people when they first enter the business, because they get paid less per hour than experienced workers.

            1. Kdawg says:

              It depends on the farm, and many of the rates per bin end up being less than the minimum wage. No wonder non-illegals don’t want to take the manual labor jobs. Work all day doing hard labor for $24.

            2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

              Correct. I have also picked fruits for a while. Pears, grapes, Mandarins etc….
              Farmers need the speed to pick because the ripe picking season has a small window. Any later/longer and the fruit goes bad and is worthless.

              Their not only just needed for picking. Pruning is required also.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “I think people that pick fruit in fields for 8 hours/day should be paid $15/hr. I don’t think they get near that, and average near minimum wage. It’s not so much the ‘skill’ required, it’s the ability to hunch over in the hot sun for 8 hours/day picking.”

            Indeed! In my experience, working at a lot of different companies and watching what others are doing, the general rule is that the harder you work, the less you get paid.

    2. John says:

      I currently work in manufacturing.
      Here’s the problem.

      We can spend a lot of money to:

      1.) Pay people more, but then profits go away and/or the product price skyrockets. Neither one is acceptable.

      -or-

      2.) Invest in some really nice equipment that makes the job easier on the mind/body/etc.

      -or-

      3.) Spend just a TEENY bit more and automate the process and remove the human component completely. We just came back from the Automate2017 Trade Show in Chicago…automation is getting better, faster, and cheaper.

      The point is, no one is being hateful or arrogant. It’s easy to see: If your job is so simple that a robot can do it, you’re going to lose it.

      I, for one, plan on being the one programming/maintaining those robots.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        In terms of Automation I do like watching that show how it’s made and I notice there are two categories of products.

        The first category of products are massed produced things like soda cans or food were they need to make millions of them. I notice that these products are pretty heavily automated but they still only a hand full of works. At this point I feel they can’t really be automated anymore then they are.

        The next category of products are produced in very small numbers by craftsmen a example is flutes or typicality cheese. I notice that I really think if it’s only guy making a dozen of them a day there really doesn’t seem like it would be worth it to automate it.

      2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        when we made the jump to JIT, we had a ton of engineers evaluate each segment of the process. Each came up with solutions to reduce possible human errors and simplify and streamline the process.
        The result was a consistent repetitive task and was KISS for the employee with fault resiliency.

      3. Kdawg says:

        I was supposed to go to the Automation Show in Chicago, but I’m swamped at work.

        Automation will continue to spread, and not just in physical labor jobs, but as AI get’s better & better, many service jobs & desk-jockey jobs will be replaced as well.

    3. Bojan says:

      Even if the task itself is not demanding, the pace at which it must be done, without errors, is.

      Besides, if the job is so simple, why hasn’t a robot been built to do it?

      1. jelloslug says:

        That’s what is going to happen.

      2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        Careful, they’re wanting to tax them too……..lol
        http://www.sfexaminer.com/san-francisco-talks-robot-tax/

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          I’m working on a science fiction book were the Government that rules over a race called the Gull Coo does pass laws to tax robots.

          In the book a company’s robot tax would be based off how much income they take in a year. After the company’s income is calculating the Gull Coo government would then divert 10% of it to the Government’s general fund to deal with unemployment and other government series like health care and building.

          Company however can get a tax break equal to $55,000 for every living being they hire and pay out $45,000.

          This is done so that workers can come in work two or three days and have tons of time off.

          This might make a lot of Techies upset but it helps give people jobs to go to and keeps money flowing back into the Gull Coo Economic and stops the money from pooling in and getting trapped in the Haves bank Accounts.

      3. Ocean Railroader says:

        I have seen stuff on how it’s made were a robot really can’t make it.

        A example is when you have a typicality store making a custom made interments.

        Or when someone builds a 1,200 gallon fish tank it’s very simple to build one but I have not seen a robot make one granted I would love to see a robot make giant fish tanks cheaply.

        1. Kdawg says:

          Yes, robots are not really suited for that type of work… yet. They are better at repeating the same task, consistently, thousands of times. So if you needed to build 12,000 fish tanks, a robot would be handy.

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “Floor workers generally have one job and it’s to install one widget onto a thingie…

      “IMHO, that’s not a ‘Career’ and it should be minimum wage.”

      Wow, what’s with all the vitriol and anger, Trollnonymous? That’s what a “semi-skilled” job is. Assembly line work has always been that type of thing, and it has always paid more than entry-level wages, even back in the days of the Ford Model T. It’s pretty stressful to work on an assembly line, which doesn’t allow for any respite or relaxation, where people are forced to work without stop (other than the government-mandated two or three short breaks per day, plus lunch) at the speed of a machine, for 8 hours or more a day.

      Minimum wage jobs are less demanding.

      Trollnonymous, your attitude toward honest, useful work, and paying dependable workers an honest living wage, needs a serious adjustment.

  6. DJ says:

    I’m not sure why people feel that a company should pay them more simply because they’re making money.

    IMO a company should pay their labor pool what they need to pay them, no more. If they want to give them a bonus or whatever great but it’s not like they’re evil, greedy, or whatever simply because they don’t.

    I mean I’m sure it’s not like the employees would all of a sudden graciously take a pay cut if the company makes less $ or even loses $.

    1. Kdawg says:

      But companies do cut people’s pay (or fire them) when the company is doing bad.

      Many/most companies have some kind of profit sharing. So if you help the company do well, you share in the spoils. This seems fair to me.

  7. unlucky says:

    I dunno about overworked, I don’t work there. But $17/hour just isn’t that much for the area. You can get $14.50 starting wage at In-n-Out (fast food). The only way the pay package really makes sense is if you assume people receive and hold stock. And while I’m sure a lot of them do, having the CEO explain that that’s where your real money come from is very disconcerting.

    That kind of thing is the same thing Enron said. Enron said to buy stock, hold stock, put stock in your 401(k), etc. (their 401(k) match was even available as Enron stock). And that’s all fine and dandy until it isn’t. If Tesla has problems you lose your job and your nest egg.

    I would like to see Tesla pay a higher wage to manufacturing employees. I think it makes sense given all the competition in the area. It’ll help them retain employees and that saves them money in the long run.

    1. Stimpacker says:

      Eh? If there is competition in the area, then Tesla would have a hard time hiring, right?

      Don’t stop there. Think of all the poor workers everywhere supprting your lifestyles. You should pay them more too.

      1. unlucky says:

        I didn’t say anything about poor workers supporting my lifestyle. My entire argument was about how Tesla should pay more because it will help them out, help them make more money.

        How did you get it in your head to invert my argument and make it about poor workers?

        1. unlucky says:

          I should be even more clear. My argument was Tesla should pay the workers more because it will help Tesla cut costs (in the end) and thus Tesla makes more money.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “$17/hour just isn’t that much for the area.”

      Nor is it anywhere near the average hourly wage for Tesla Fremont auto assembly workers. Apparently it’s the lowest starting wage for anyone working in the plant, whether on the assembly line or not.

      In other words, it’s a cherry-picked figure, it’s disinformation, chosen to be deliberately misleading.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        If that Tesla factory was in Central Vriginia and paid $17.00 dollars a hour I would be living like a king if I got a job there.

      2. unlucky says:

        I’m comparing to the starting wage at In-n-Out also. Apples to apples.

    3. Ocean Railroader says:

      $14.50 would be better paying then 80% of the Office Jobs in my area it would be like the world is my oyster at those kinds of wages.

  8. Alonso Perez says:

    I’ve been to the Bay Area. To the Tesla plant itself I might add. $17 an hour is nothing close to a living wage.

    Having said that, I don’t see ill intent, but perhaps some bad judgement. Musk is a uniquely capable workaholic who probably cannot grasp the needs of lesser, yet (relatively) hard-working individuals. It would not surprise me one bit that he is creating a barely sustainable work environment.

    I also worry about reports that management is not responsive to worker feedback. I don’t know if this is true, but some quality problems, though eventually fixed, have persisted longer than they should have and this might help explain that.

    Most workers today have no desire to unionize. If the UAW makes progress, it’s a sign that some of these problems are real. One can think, and I do, that Musk is the most valuable American CEO today and at the same time realize that he is still human and may have a significant blind spot here. We will find out eventually.

  9. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “Tesla Factory Workers Underpaid, Overworked?”

    Typical example of Betteridge’s law of headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

    I’m sure all the UAW union agitators would like people to believe Tesla workers are underpaid and overworked. Too bad InsideEVs chooses to parrot that propaganda in a headline, even if the article itself casts serious doubts on the claims.

    I’m all in favor of small local unions, but UAW is neither, and it’s very clear from their history that workers would be better off without the weight of the UAW dragging them down right along with the company they work for. Once a union gets so big organized crime gets involved, it should be dissolved.

  10. Ocean Railroader says:

    I have considered applying for a job at the Tesla Giga factory. But the biggest Question is they don’t really tell how much they pay a hour and would I be able to afford a house in the area without living in a card board box under a overpass.

    The Cost of Living in San Fransisco is why San Fransisco is going to be a Ocean Railroader free city.

  11. Dan says:

    “However, if you look at the stock price from just a few years back (see below), where it is today, and where it is headed, those employees are faring pretty well. Workers that have been with Tesla since early on have a very nice nest egg due to their stock options.” Are you effin’ kidding me? Did you fail to look at your own chart, do you not understand how math works, do you not believe Elon can do wrong, or do you just really hate people who work for a living? Tesla hit a high in September of 2014 that was not reached again until THIS MONDAY. Anyone that came to work there since then isn’t doing particularly well with their stock options and that should a majority of the manufacturing employees. September was Tesla’s best month of 2014 per the report card and they just sold 148% more cars last month. There were a limited amount of employees in that sweet spot from December 2013, when the stock price was around $140 during that first month in which they sold over 1,000 cars, and March 2014, the first time the stock hit $260, that saw any benefit in getting Tesla stock.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Not to get into the specifics of the debate itself, or your comment. But just as a point of interest; employee options are earned over time…so the September 2014 high was not were any employee finds the entirety of their holdings.

      So Joe/Jane factory worker didn’t pick up 100% of the shares they have today at the very peak at 286.04 on Sept 4th,2014, but they have a weighted average cost from the start of his/her employment over time.

      If an employee started exactly at the high/worst case in Sept 14th, and picked up stocks through this month, they would have an average purchase price around ~225. The stock closed Thursday at $298.70….for a gain of ~33% over the 2 years and 6 month time frame, as a worst case scenario.

      With that said, its a volatile play, so the shares could be at $200 or $400 in another month or two; it was certainly looking pretty glum for employees with 2 years or less seniority last November … however, there is currently no Tesla employee that isn’t experiencing a strong return of some magnitude.

  12. JIMJFOX says:

    Unionization- hmmm….

    The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is a trade union for coal miners in Great Britain, formed in 1945 from the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain (MFGB). The NUM took part in three national miners’ strikes, in 1972, 1974 and 1984–85. After the 1984–85 strike and the subsequent closure of most of Britain’s coal mines, it became a much smaller union. It had around 170,000 members when [Communist] Arthur Scargill first led the union, a figure which had fallen in 2015 to an active membership of around 100.

    In 2012 it emerged in court cases between the NUM and its former president Arthur Scargill that a substantial proportion of union members’ subscriptions was being spent on expenses for Scargill, including unauthorised rent payments for a flat in London’s Barbican Estate.

    Just saying…

  13. Terry says:

    17 to 19 dollars an hour is the same wage you start at Ford in KC. However CA cost of living is higher so a higher wage should be there. However the Battery plant may be different. Also when working for Coca Cola the production operators made 23 an hr back in 2014. I think the auto companies should match a pop company. Although with so many not employed or underemployed employment with health insurance and retirement and dental insurance most should be glad to have.