"This Is Life And Death": Tesla Employees Say Fremont Factory Is A "Modern Day Sweatshop"

Is it possible that working for the visionary boy-genius Elon Musk isn't the modern day utopia that many Tesla cultists believe it is? What about working for the very same CEO that is rushing his employees back to work in the midst of a global pandemic?

On the contrary to Musk's vision of saving the world (or whatever the hell he thinks his vision is), one worker recently described the company's Fremont plant as “a modern-day sweatshop,” according to electrek.

Reporting on the company's safety and working conditions, amidst Elon Musk's perpetual struggle with "fascist" governments to re-open, another employee said of the company's flagship factory: “This is a life and death situation.”

That worker, Carlos Gabriel, refused to return to work. He said: "There’s really no room, and this is a factory with recycled air. You’re basically just breathing on each other."

Carlos Gabriel

Another employee talked about a meeting that Tesla had about a week before the factory was reluctantly given the go-ahead to re-open: "We were inches apart from one another. Didn’t look like they made any changes to the line. On the line, we sometimes work on top of each other, touching the same equipment."

He continued: "They give us a mask and take our temps when we walk in. The bathrooms aren’t always clean and are small. I really don’t feel safe."

An employee who reached out to electrek added: “Unions have been trying to get in for years with no luck. Everybody knows that Elon wouldn’t allow it.” One assembly line employee, a 61 year old that went by the name of "Art", said that employees were "shoulder to shoulder" on the line worker. There's "no room for 6 feet of distance," he said. 

In March, during the formal shut down, another employee said that Tesla was "still running full production". They stated: "I arrived at work this morning. We are still running full production. Does not look like they cut down on the workforce. They give us a mask and take our temperature when we walk in. They are not practicing safe social distance."

Meanwhile, Tesla continues to call employees back into work, warning those who don't show up that they could lose unemployment benefits. Elon Musk wrote in a May 12 e-mail to employees:

Just wanted to send you a note of appreciation for working hard to make Tesla successful. It is so cool seeing the factory come back to life and you are making it happen!

An honest day’s work spent building products or providing services of use to others is extremely honorable. I have vastly more respect for someone who takes pride in doing a good job, whatever the profession, than some rich or famous person who does nothing useful.

But SF Weekly published a recent report stating that measures outlined by the company's HR - namely Alameda County's expected safety precautions - were not being adhered to. 

"They’re trying to implement the changes while everyone’s working. It makes you wonder if your life is worth 20 bucks an hour," one employee concluded.