Tesla Factory Workers Want More Transparency From Elon Musk

July 31, 2017, 7:33 PM UTC

A group of Tesla workers behind an effort to unionize the automaker’s Fremont, Calif. factory have sent a letter to the company’s board asking its independent members to put pressure on management including CEO Elon Musk to address concerns about safety and financial shortfalls.

The letter comes just three days after Musk handed over 30 new Model 3 vehicles—the company’s product aimed at the mass market—to employees during a splashy event at the factory. It was here, just prior to the handover, that Musk told reporters, including Fortune that Tesla was about to go through six months of manufacturing hell to scale production of the Model 3.

Efforts to unionize could disrupt Tesla’s production plans for the Model 3.

The Tesla Organizing Workers’ Committee sent the letter to independent board members, including its two newest James Murdoch and Linda Johnson Rice. In the letter, the committee claims its requests to management have been ignored and asked the board members to step in. It’s unclear how many workers support this group or efforts to unionize.

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The committee had three demands centered on health and safety as well as how employees are evaluated and paid. The group of workers wants access to, and a voice in, the company’s safety plan as well as the ability to review data on hazards and injuries as the plant. The workers also want to be a part of company decisions about equipment, rotation schedules, and ergonomics at the factory.

Workers also complained that there is no clear policy for how workers might advance at Tesla.

“There are no guidelines for what is expected of us, or what defines success,” the letter said, noting there is “a great deal of workforce turnover due to the financial insecurity.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attempts to unionize Tesla’s factory have cropped up in the past. The latest effort began in February after Tesla employee Jose Moran made a number of allegations in a post on Medium about the working conditions there, including lower-than-average pay, excessive mandatory overtime, low morale, unfair promotions, high turnover, and frequent workplace injuries. Moran said at the time that many workers at the factory have been “talking about unionizing, and have reached out to the United Auto Workers for support.”