Elon Musk isn’t shy about making his opinions known, and in a company-wide email to Tesla employees on Friday, he set the record straight on a few controversial topics. The upshot? Unions are bad, frozen yogurt and roller coasters are good.
Musk’s email was largely a point-by-point rebuttal of a viral Medium post by alleged Tesla employee Jose Moran that detailed a list of harsh working conditions at the company’s Fremont factory, and acknowledged that he had attempted to contact the United Auto Workers union. Musk claimed Moran was “paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union. He doesn’t really work for us, he works for the UAW.” The UAW fired back, calling Musk’s allegations “fake news.” Musk has been outspoken about his resistance to Tesla employees joining the UAW, an organization he feels is damaging to the financial goals of his company.
“That is why I was so distraught when I read the recent blog post promoting the UAW, which does not share our mission and whose true allegiance is to the giant car companies, where the money they take from employees in dues is vastly more than they could ever make from Tesla,” Musk wrote in the email, which was published in full by Electrek. “The tactics they have resorted to are disingenuous or outright false. I will address their underhanded attacks below. While this discussion focuses on Fremont, these same principles apply to every Tesla facility worldwide.”
Musk claims that, contrary to the picture painted by Moran’s Medium post, injuries on the Tesla factory floor are minimal.
“The net result is that since January 1st, our total recordable incident rate (TRIR) is under 3.3, which is less than half the industry average of 6.7,” Musk wrote.
Musk literally cast the entire affair as a “David vs. Goliath” allegory, in which Tesla, a multi-billion dollar corporation owned by the 87th wealthiest person in the world, is David.
The forces arrayed against us are many and incredibly powerful This is David vs Goliath if David were six inches tall! Only by being smarter, faster and working well as a tightly integrated team do we have any chance of success.
Tesla’s manufacturing capabilities are going to be increasingly important to the company’s future: Musk said during the Tesla earnings call that in the future, Tesla’s Gigafactories will be more important than its cars. The first test of Tesla’s push toward the future of manufacturing is the mass-produced Model 3, which Musk wants to be able to make at a rate of 5,000 per month in late 2017. If his workers are unhappy, that goal will undoubtedly be harder to meet.
In order to increase employee morale, Musk said the company would be having a “really amazing party” with free frozen yogurt and a plan he’s had for years: a Tesla electric pod roller coaster. In a sub-heading at the end of the email labeled “Fun,” Musk wrote:
As we get closer to being a profitable company, we will be able to afford more and more fun things. For example, as I mentioned at the last company talk, we are going to hold a really amazing party once Model 3 reaches volume production later this year. There will also be little things that come along like free frozen yogurt stands scattered around the factory and my personal favorite: a Tesla electric pod car roller coaster (with an optional loop the loop route, of course!) that will allow fast and fun travel throughout our Fremont campus, dipping in and out of the factory and connecting all the parking lots. It’s going to get crazy good 🙂
Thanks again for all your effort and I look forward to working alongside you to create an amazing future!
Inverse reached out to Tesla for clarification on Jose Moran’s employment at the company, Musk’s statements about the UAW, and whether or not the company was concerned about the possible dietary complications of frozen yogurt and roller coasters. We’ll update this story if we hear back.