Revolutionizing electric cars doesn’t come without its costs, apparently.
Numerous Tesla factory employees have spoken out about the horrid and stressful conditions they allegedly work under.
“I’ve seen people pass out, hit the floor like a pancake and smash their face open,” recounts Jonathan Galescu, a technician for Elon Musk’s ambitious company, Tesla Inc.
“They just send us to work around him while he’s still laying on the floor.”
Other allegations, leaked to the Guardian by current and former workers, range from ambulances being called in and aiding overworked employees to permanent neck injuries.
“We had an associate on my line, he just kept working, kept working, kept working,” said worker Mikey Catura. “Next thing you know—he just fell on the ground.”
(Photo Credit: The Guardian)
Musk’s lofty dream of revolutionizing the auto and energy industries are reportedly reflected in his ambitious—what some would call domineering—work standards he expects from his associates.
In 2018, the Tesla founder projected to increase the number of vehicles manufactured by 495%—a whopping 500,000 cars.
“From what I’ve gathered,” said an anonymous production worker, “Elon Musk started Tesla kind of like an app startup and didn’t realize that it isn’t just nerds at a computer desk typing. You really start losing the startup feel when you have thousands of people doing physical labor.”
Physical labor, indeed, as one worker, Michael Sanchez, allegedly learned the hard way. After years of working on the Tesla factory’s assembly line, he says he ended up with two herniated discs and cannot even hold a pencil without immense pain.
“You can make it through Monday,” said Sanchez, “You can make it through Tuesday. Come Wednesday you start to feel something. Thursday is pain. Friday is agonizing. Saturday you’re just making through the day.”
Between 2013 and 2016, Tesla’s own records of workplace incidents was higher than the overall industry average.
But according to company, data from previous years “doesn’t reflect how the factory operates today.”
In fact, Musk himself has come out to refute the claims, even referring to his own suffering working in the factory.
“It’s incredibly hurtful and I think false for anyone to claim that I don’t care,” said Musk, adding that his desk is located “in the worst place in the factory, the most painful place…It’s not some comfortable corner office.”
In 2016, he claimed to have slept inside the factory in a sleeping bag laid out across the floor, “I knew people were having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs. I wanted to work harder than they did, to put even more hours in…Because that’s what I think a manager should do.”
Sacrificing his personal well-being isn’t the only thing Musk has done to address workplace abuse, however. By adding an extra shift, creating a team of ergonomics experts, and improving their “safety teams”, the company says it reduced its injury rate to 32% better than the current industry average.
“We’re trying to do good for the world and we believe in doing the right thing,” says Musk, “And that extends to caring about the health and safety of everyone at the company.”
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