Trouble for Tesla and Elon Musk: workers are complaining about racist coworkers, and agitating for a union.
Jose Moran—who claimed to be an employee at the Fremont factory—wrote a scathing critique of the facility and his employer, alleging “excessive mandatory overtime” and low wages. He said that he and other employees were considering unionizing and had reached out to UAW for help.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk told our sister site Gizmodo that Moran was paid by UAW “to join Tesla and agitate for the union.”
And what is wrong with that? If conditions are unjust, then rallying workers to form a union is exactly the right thing to do (also, even if conditions are relatively just, forming a union to give workers a voice is also exactly the right thing to do. You are never wrong to form a workers’ union.)
But now the story going around is that Musk has fired some of those rabble-rousers for urging unionizing. That makes him a 19th century villain in my book.
But worse…you know those complaints about coworkers freely throwing around racial slurs? Musk has a suggestion for dealing with that, too.
Part of not being a huge jerk is considering how someone might feel who is part of [a] historically less represented group,Musk wrote in the email.Sometimes these things happen unintentionally, in which case you should apologize. In fairness, if someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologizes, it is important to be thick-skinned and accept that apology.
Different suggestion: if you discover that you’ve got racists working for you who are disrupting the other workers, fire the racists. It’s that simple. If you’re able to fire people for union activities, you must have the power to fire people for naked bigotry. Why aren’t you?