Housing Costs and Fair Wages
Tesla Motors has been fortune enough to build as a company for the past several years in Silicon Valley. With that growth comes the responsibility to fairly compensate workers for creating and producing that growth.
One Tesla Motors employee, Jose Moran, wrote a Medium post displaying some reasons why he thinks the company should unionized. He wrote:
“A few months ago, six out of eight people in my work team were out on medical leave at the same time due to various work-related injuries. I hear that ergonomics concerns in other departments are even more severe. Worst of all, I hear coworkers quietly say that they are hurting but they are too afraid to report it for fear of being labeled as a complainer or bad worker by management.
Ironically, many of my coworkers who have been saying they are fed up with the long hours at the plant also rely on the overtime to survive financially.” – Jose Moran
He does bring up the excitement of working for a clean energy producing car company, but readers can clearly see a problem with the system. We continue to cover Tesla Motors for their positive impact on the environment. We also see the importance of our continued coverage, and the benefits it can bring to the hard working people within the company.
It is easy to give continued praise of a company or brand, but it takes insight and effort to create constructive criticism that can be beneficial overall.
Overall, I find that not all unions are created equal. Debate.org has an interesting open discussion on the pros and cons to having unions.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, Gizmodo and the Business Insider reported:
“Frankly, I find this attack to be morally outrageous. Tesla is the last car company left in California, because costs are so high. The UAW killed NUMMI and abandoned the workers at our Fremont plant in 2010. They have no leg to stand on,” Musk told Gizmodo.
Musk admitted that factory workers sometimes face mandatory overtime in the message with Gizmodo.
“There is sometimes mandatory overtime if we are trying to make up for a production stoppage, but it is dropping almost every week,” he said.
Musk said “the understanding” is that Moran was paid by the UAW to agitate for the union, something that the UAW categorically denied on Friday in a statement:
“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 statement reads.
After reading Moran’s post, and reviewing Tesla Motor’s Glassdoor data, the information covering the salaries show wages that would be putting stress on the employees based on the cost of living in Southern California.
Personally, I have been living in Illinois, where the cost of living is low, but have been looking to relocate to an area with more job opportunities, such as California. With my current wage, that is above the national median for wages, is still far under the amount needed to survive in major cities in Southern California. After being rejected for years by Tesla Motors for jobs, Glassdoor shows that the majority of the jobs they hire people for are paid less than me, and those people have to try and afford the cost of living to work in the area.
The people that do get hired by Tesla Motors make the decision to work there for the wage. They are not forced to work in an area with a high cost of living. That doesn’t make it right for companies to not compensate for rising costs of living. Some companies, like Disney, will provide housing to their employees. My constructive criticism is that more companies need to learn cost effective methods to creating housing for employees. Doesn’t Musk own SolarCity? He could start building housing structures next to their factories, and power them with solar energy. He could use the housing as a method to help compensate employees without having to raise wages across the board.
I can see that the more companies do for their employes, the more they can do to support the local community. If housing costs are too high, and employees are having to work overtime, it is time to create jobs that support other workers.