Wednesday, 07 Dec 2022

Teslas construction workers at Texas gigafactory allege labor violations

Teslas construction workers at Texas gigafactory allege labor violations


Teslas construction workers at Texas gigafactory allege labor violations

Construction workers who toiled on one of Tesla's sprawling so-called gigafactories will file a complaint and a case referral with the federal Department of Labor on Tuesday detailing exploitative work conditions they say they experienced while building the plant.

Whistleblowers came forward to allege serious labor and employment violations during construction of the electric car manufacturer's massive new facility in Austin, Texas, that left them vulnerable to injuries and wage theft.

Amid accusations of constant hazards and onsite accidents, one worker said his bosses at an unnamed subcontractor falsified credentials instead of actually providing him and others with required job training involving education about health, safety, and workers' rights - including the right to refuse dangerous work.

Other whistleblowers are reporting what they describe as wage theft and say they weren't paid at all or didn't receive proper overtime compensation for their work on the hi-tech facility.

"Nobody deserves what happened in the gigafactory to happen to them, or their family members, or whomever," Victor, a worker who asked the Guardian to withhold his last name out of fear of retaliation, said in an exclusive interview about working conditions, adding: "I don't think it was humane."

Tesla's 2,500-acre Austin gigafactory was one of the hottest construction jobs in the US after workers broke ground on it in 2020, as multi-billionaire entrepreneur and owner of Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter, Elon Musk, erected a central US outpost for his auto manufacturer. From outside the project, the new plant sounded like an ideal place for any builder to work.

The company chose a convenient location along the Colorado River near Austin's airport, which Musk touted as an employment opportunity for thousands where he will manufacture the long-delayed electric pickup Cybertruck. Back in April, Musk donned sunglasses and a black cowboy hat at a "Cyber Rodeo" celebrating the venue's initial opening.

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