Why Did Tesla Fire Hundreds Of Workers During Intense Model 3 Manufacture?

A sign at the Tesla dealership on November 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.

Tesla recently fired hundreds of workers at its only automobile factory during the ramped up manufacture of the company’s next big product, the Model 3. While the luxury electric car company claims that it fired its employees because of performance-related issues, labor activists say that Tesla targeted pro-union workers in the mass firing to undermine unionization efforts.

According to Fast Company, many of the workers who were fired are a part of a movement called, “A Fair Future At Tesla.” They claim that their performance records were good and they have not been able to access the negative reviews that were used to justify their firing. Tesla has not confirmed the number of employees who were fired, but there are estimates that it ranges from 400 to 1,200. Since the company says that these workers were fired and not laid off, they were not given advanced notice as mandated by the WARN Act.

The timing of the mass firing is considered suspicious. Tesla is currently knee-deep in the manufacture of its most-anticipated product, the Model 3. This new model is meant to be the first mass-market electric car from the company, “conservatively” priced at $35,000. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has said that they want to produce 20,000 Model 3’s per month until December. But the company has fallen short of that goal. As Fast Company notes, Tesla only finished 260 as of the third quarter of 2017.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, the company has blamed the delay on “production bottlenecks” But firing employees and having to train new workers won’t help solve that problem.

Although Tesla has a reputation as being a progressive, “high-growth” company, workers have been complaining about poor wages and dangerous conditions and a “culture of intimidation” for some time now. Tesla workers have been seeking to unite with the United Auto Workers to amplify their influence on the company and improve working conditions, Fast Company notes.

According to CNBC, the majority of the workers fired were employed in the motors department and not from other Tesla initiatives like Tesla Powerwall, which has been working to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid after Hurricane Maria.

Do you think that Tesla fired workers because they were attempting to unionize? Let us know in the comments below?


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[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]