Friday, February 10, 2017

Tesla employee calls for unionization, Musk says that’s “morally outrageous”

We've been babbling about this for a while now:
Tech industry, unions at odds over 'stimulus' plan
I had a comment yesterday [what else is new? -ed] on Environmental Capital's post "Green Jobs: Enough to Counter Mass Layoffs?":
The Change to Win folks that you linked to the other day came out with their greencollar report.
By the looks of it, they intend that all green jobs will be union jobs.
This may come as a bit of a shock to some Silicon Valley VC’s, among others.
I do get a kick out of the idea of unionizing the Valley.
Comment by Climateer - February 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm
More after the jump, if interested. 

From Ars Technica:

Jose Moran says mandatory overtime, poor equipment ergonomics have lead to injury, low morale.
In a Medium post published today, Tesla employee Jose Moran detailed working conditions at the company’s Fremont factory and called for the factory workers to unionize with United Auto Workers (UAW).

Tesla currently employs more than 5,000 non-union workers at its Fremont, CA-based factory. Moran wrote that the workers are often faced with “excessive mandatory overtime” and earn between $17 and $21 hourly, compared with the national average of $25.58 hourly for most autoworkers in the US. The Tesla employee noted that the astronomical cost of living in the Bay Area makes $21 an hour difficult to live on.

The post was Moran’s first on Medium, and Ars could not find a way to contact him for further details.

Moran also claimed that the factory’s “machinery is often not ergonomically compatible with our bodies,” and requires “too much twisting and turning and extra physical movement to do jobs that could be simplified if workers’ input were welcomed.” He added that at one point, six out of eight people on his team were out on medical leave “due to various work-related injuries.”
A Tesla spokesperson told Ars that Moran’s Medium post “is not the first time we have been the target of a professional union organizing effort such as this.”

“The safety and job satisfaction of our employees here at Tesla has always been extremely important to us,” the spokesperson continued. “We have a long history of engaging directly with our employees on the issues that matter to them, and we will continue to do so because it’s the right thing to do.”
Speaking to Gizmodo through Twitter Direct Messages, Elon Musk said “Our understanding is that this guy was paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union,” adding, “Frankly, I find this attack to be morally outrageous. Tesla is the last car company left in California, because costs are so high.” Musk then blamed the UAW for killing New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc (NUMMI), which sold the Fremont factory to Musk in 2010....MORE
On the unions and the Valley:
"America’s New Oligarchs— and Silicon Valley’s Shady 1 Percenters"

What Uber Hath Wrought: The Coming Digital Labor Movement
The very last thing the poobahs of Sand Hill Road want to see. They overwhelmingly prefer NO unions.

During the 2008* Democratic nomination campaign we pointed out that although the self-anointed Silicon Valley aristocracy were solidly behind Senator Obama, rank-and-file Dems in Santa Clara county went for Hillary 54.8% to Obama's 39.3% in that year's primary.

The reason this gets interesting is a possible split between various constituencies.
For example the Teamsters union can't be very enthusiastic about the prospect of autonomous trucks.

The bad-apple cops responsible for repeat police brutality claims are protected in their jobs by very strong unions. Who do you go with, the protestors or the police unions?

I don't know how this all plays out but it seems easier to understand if we dispense with party labels and go with a plutocrats/peasants framework....
"Could Automation Be Labor Unions' Death Knell?"
We've been predicting something along these lines for half-a-decade or longer, in fact going back to the 2008 California Democrat primary* where, as we've pointed out a few times, the rank-and-file Dems of  Santa Clara county went for Hillary 54.8% to Obama's 39.3. The Valley's 0.0001% however overwhelmingly financed Obama, and, since money talks, you could just see the power relationship between the two constituencies change before your eyes.

There is one interesting wrinkle to the fact Apple and Google will be putting 4 million Teamsters out of work.

The public employee unions, the only area where unions are consolidating their power, are starting to take note that in just about any area of the economy that has even the slightest relationship to government, meaning all of it, they can make the case that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees should be the bargaining agent....
"Seattle is first city in nation to give Uber, other contract drivers ability to unionize"
This is not at all what Silicon Valley wants.
Dear Teamsters: It Looks Like Uber Was Trying To Dig Up Dirt On The Seattle Local
There are quite a few dimensions to what is going on here so lets start with the latest....
As Chicago Prepares an App For Taxis to Compete With Uber, Giant Union AFSCME is Organizing Cab Drivers
 Watch Out Uber: National Labor Relations Board Interpretation Could Allow Many Taxi Drivers to Unionize

 Dear Teamsters, United Auto Workers: Google Is Trying To Crush Your Unions and Your Members (GOOG)
Here's how the Teamsters reacted to stress in 1934, the management guy heading for terra firma  died almost instantly of a crushed occipital lobe: