18 votes

Tesla workers speak out: 'Anything pro-union is shut down really fast'

10 comments

  1. [3]
    dubteedub
    Link
    So while Elon Musk can go on a livestream and record himself smoking pot for a couple hours with Joe Rogan, an employee with an actual medical marijuana card for panic anxiety gets shitcanned for...

    In August 2017 Crystal Guardado was fired from Tesla as she began participating in union organizing and speaking up about the unsafe working conditions. “Some of my most vivid memories are asking questions about the union to colleagues and being told to shut up or I’d get fired,” Guardado said. She started working at Tesla in April 2017 and began speaking up after she hurt her eyes from chemicals used on door handles and was told by a doctor it was due to allergies. “They retaliated against me, I believe, because I was speaking up about my safety and the conditions in the factory.”

    A Tesla spokesperson said Guardado was fired for failing the company’s substance abuse and testing policy, but Guardado argued she has possessed a medical marijuana card in California for the past five years due to panic anxiety issues and her efforts to provide human resources with the documentation leading up to the test were ignored.

    So while Elon Musk can go on a livestream and record himself smoking pot for a couple hours with Joe Rogan, an employee with an actual medical marijuana card for panic anxiety gets shitcanned for it.

    If that isn't classist corporate America, I don't know what is

    16 votes
    1. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      It is starting to change, but Tesla's gotten a free pass for their awful practices for a long time. I saw a video recently (link here if you're interested) about the company's hostility towards...

      It is starting to change, but Tesla's gotten a free pass for their awful practices for a long time. I saw a video recently (link here if you're interested) about the company's hostility towards owners repairing their own cars, refusal to provide parts, tools, etc. But they never really seem to be part of the right to repair discussions.

      6 votes
    2. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. unknown user
        Link Parent
        How do you coerce a billionaire into doing things, exactly? One filthy enough to attack a person that saved many kids from death trapped in a cave with an days-long operation, calling him a...

        How do you coerce a billionaire into doing things, exactly? One filthy enough to attack a person that saved many kids from death trapped in a cave with an days-long operation, calling him a pedophile, and nasty enough to feed off of hype among tech fanboys this facelessly.

        I think Musk will become the new Kalanick quite shortly. He's got the character, we just need the events. Tesla is very important for the entire world, but I hope they won't take too much time to send this guy to an early retirement.

        1 vote
  2. [5]
    hightrix
    Link
    The unfortunate reality is that this is the situation at every tech company. Any talks about unionizing are met with either immediate dismissal or threats of such. The software industry and tech...

    The unfortunate reality is that this is the situation at every tech company. Any talks about unionizing are met with either immediate dismissal or threats of such.

    The software industry and tech as a whole could use a history lesson on the benefits of unions, but unfortunately, unions were so demonized while growing up that it is a dirty word in many places. I know I've said it before, but the video game industry, for the most part, is nearly predatory on gamer/programmers just out of college. Hell, I know a person that has been working as a game dev for 5+ years and still only makes 45k. It's sickening to see them work 60+ hour weeks for what amounts to peanuts in the software world.

    That said, I don't know what the solution is to this issue.

    6 votes
    1. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      I honestly don't think there is a solution to these abuses other than unionizing. Collective action is the only thing demonstrably proven capable of fighting the power imbalance between employee...

      I honestly don't think there is a solution to these abuses other than unionizing. Collective action is the only thing demonstrably proven capable of fighting the power imbalance between employee and employer, and improving working conditions and compensation. In the short term, tech workers have had it better than those in most industries, as the computer revolution is fairly recent, and the demand long outstripped the supply of skilled programmers and the like, so companies had to compete on pay and benefits to attract the best workers. So maybe those workers thought unions redundant.

      But things are changing quickly. As the supply of credentialed tech workers continues to balloon, outpacing the growth in demand, individual employees have their bargaining power diminished. And of course our captains of industry are always pioneering new ways to avoid competing with each other, such as no-compete clauses in contracts. Maybe the IWW or the AFL could have outreach programs to under-unionized industries like tech, but ultimately, if tech workers don't get together and unionize, things aren't going to change for the better, and for their own sake, I hope they realize this sooner rather than later.

      3 votes
    2. [4]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [3]
        spctrvl
        Link Parent
        Those people have existed in every field of work since time immemorial, and being unionized or not isn't going to change that. Even if it did, I'd still rather have lazy workers as free riders...

        Certainly not all union people are lazy but my brother in the electricians union always complains to me about people doing the bare minimum and nothing more.

        Those people have existed in every field of work since time immemorial, and being unionized or not isn't going to change that.

        Even if it did, I'd still rather have lazy workers as free riders than parasitic CEOs.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. spctrvl
            Link Parent
            I see where you're coming from, but there's no reason that employers couldn't reward high performing employees with raises on top of the guaranteed annual raises. Which, even for workers who just...

            I see where you're coming from, but there's no reason that employers couldn't reward high performing employees with raises on top of the guaranteed annual raises. Which, even for workers who just skate by, are still needed to combat inflation and ensure a cut from ever increasing technological productivity gains. Since around 1980, in spite of more than a doubling of average productivity, gains in inflation adjusted salaries have been basically nonexistant.

            And it's worth mentioning that the alternative to unions is not meritocracy. Companies will always pay as little as they can get away with paying. With few exceptions, businesses today are built on the backs of quality workers who're being criminally underpaid because they have no bargaining power as individuals. Hell, I'd argue an environment like this is at least as bad for causing otherwise productive people to be lazy, if not more so, than a worst-case union job. There's no incentive to be the best cashier, the best janitor, the best barista, when you're still never going to be making more than $7-15/hr. Even highly skilled tech workers have to hop between jobs to really experience significant raises.

            2 votes
          2. unknown user
            Link Parent
            Why would a worker do more than what's required (i.e. what they're paid for) in a job that is not abusive of them?

            to do more than what’s required

            Why would a worker do more than what's required (i.e. what they're paid for) in a job that is not abusive of them?

            1 vote
  3. [2]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Reading the political tea leaves, actions before the NLRB are not likely to be positive for workers for a while.

    Reading the political tea leaves, actions before the NLRB are not likely to be positive for workers for a while.

    2 votes
    1. demifiend
      Link Parent
      Screw the NLRB. If the law doesn't protect workers, then workers need to protect themselves.

      Screw the NLRB. If the law doesn't protect workers, then workers need to protect themselves.

      7 votes