Why Viral Blog by Tesla Worker Has Elon Musk Fuming

The post, titled “Time for Tesla to Listen,” is a veritable laundry list of complaints about the working conditions at Tesla's California factory.

The internet is a fickle place, and so many thoughts pushed out into the nebulous web clouds just fade into oblivion, with nary an eyeball pausing for review. In fact, welcome to the world of 95 percent of all Twitter accounts.

That’s why it’s strange that news organizations as prestigious as Fortune are suddenly talking about a blog post on Medium.com by an automotive assembly worker with 35 followers.

Well, it may be because the author, Jose Moran, is an employee of Tesla’s and his blog post, titled “Time for Tesla to Listen,” was a veritable laundry list of complaints about the working conditions at the California factory of the electric vehicle maker.

Moran hits hard right off the bat, and in the opening paragraph of his diatribe he describes working for Tesla as “like working for a company of the future under working conditions of the past.” Among the accusations, he describes a work environment where overtime is mandatory and preventable injuries are rampant, with workers afraid to report injuries for fear of backlash. Additionally, he claims the compensation for employees is way out of line for the cost of living in the Bay area, saying many colleagues are commuting up to two hours because they can’t afford to live closer.

But Moran doesn’t just complain. He talks about his loyalty to company and his job, saying he doesn’t want to leave he just wants things to be better. His suggestion? Workers form a union, something he says they’ve already been deliberating, with the help of the UAW.

Now I get why Elon Musk read your blog, and here’s where it gets a little interesting. Musk weighed in on these accusations to Gizmodo, calling the attack “morally outrageous” and defending the mandatory overtime as temporary and solely to make up short term production stoppages.

But then he goes on to allege that the author of the blog post maybe doesn’t even work for Tesla. Huh? Well, Musk seems to have reason to believe that Moran was actually paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union.

Gizmodo even lends a little credence to this theory, reporting that they were unable to find anyone by the name of Jose Moran currently working for Tesla on any social media besides Medium, other than a LinkedIn profile that appeared to be brand new.

But whether or not this author truly exists may not matter in the long run. If the majority of Tesla’s production workers want to attempt to unionize, then they have the right to give it a go. Either way, worker unrest of any kind could easily derail the ambitious production goals that Tesla’s founder has laid out to its shareholders.

I’m Anna Wells, and this is IEN Now.

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