FREMONT (CBS SF) – A worker at the Tesla factory in Fremont who penned an essay criticizing working conditions and urged for the unionization of employees has come forward after facing criticism from CEO Elon Musk.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Jose Moran said he has worked at the electric car factory for over four years. Moran, who lives in the Central Valley, said he sometimes works 12 hour shifts, six days a week.
On Thursday, the employee published an essay claiming the automaker is innovative but has “working conditions of the past.”
Moran claimed six out of eight people on his team were on medical leave at the same time due to work-related injuries, which he blamed on machinery that is not ergonomic, a shortage of manpower and being pushed to work faster.
The worker was also critical of the pay factory workers receive, which he claimed was lower than the industry average. Moran said his colleagues have talked about unionizing the plant and reached out to the United Auto Workers for support.
The Fremont factory was once the site of the NUMMI auto plant, which was unionized. NUMMI closed in 2010.
After the essay was released, the automaker released a statement to KPIX 5, which said in part, “As California’s largest manufacturing employer and a company that has created thousands of quality jobs here in the Bay Area, this is not the first time we have been the target of a professional union organizing effort such as this.”
CEO Elon Musk went further, telling Gizmodo, “Our understanding is that this guy was paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union. He doesn’t really work for us, he works for the UAW.”
“Frankly, I find this attack to be morally outrageous,” Musk went on to say, saying the union “killed NUMMI and abandoned workers.”
In response, Moran told Bloomberg, “I’m not an employee of the UAW, but we get support from the UAW. For Musk to try to trash me down like that — it’s too bad.”
The UAW confirmed Moran has approached them and also disputed Musk’s claims of paying Moran, calling it “fake news.”
“Mr. Moran is not and has not been paid by the UAW. We would hope that Tesla would apologize to their employee, Mr. Moran, for spreading fake news about him. We can confirm that Mr. Moran and others at Tesla have approached the UAW, and we welcome them with open arms,” the union said in a statement.