To misrepresent the famous Field of Dreams line: “if you build it, suits will come.”
Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) is set to face yet another lawsuit, this time from the construction workers who built the carmaker’s massive gigafactory in Austin, Texas. The employees will submit a complaint and a case referral with the federal Department of Labor on Tuesday, detailing allegedly exploitative working conditions.
Whistleblowers came out to allege major labor and employment breaches during the construction of Tesla’s Texas factory, which exposed them to injuries and wage fraud.
In one account, worker Victor (surname withheld) is filing a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding suspected false certificates of completion for needed training that he claims never occurred. He recounted with The Guardian that his team was told to work on the metal factory roof at night with no lights, on top of smoke-blowing turbines without safety masks, and otherwise put themselves in danger since they weren’t given enough briefing information how to stay safe.
Victor also recalled another case where he and his coworkers were expected to continue working on a flooded first floor, despite the fact that there was live wire all over the place and cords in the water.
“I’m going to die in this factory,” he remembers telling his wife.
Other whistleblowers have reported wage fraud, claiming that they were not paid at all or did not get sufficient overtime compensation for their labor on the high-tech facility. According to the case referral that will be filed, some workers sacrificed time with their families to continue building the factory over Thanksgiving last year, but they claim they never received the promised double-pay bonuses.
After workers broke ground on Tesla’s 2,500-acre Austin Gigafactory in 2020, it was one of the hottest construction jobs in the US. The firm selected a convenient location along the Colorado River near Austin’s airport, which CEO Elon Musk billed as a job opportunity for thousands, to produce the long-delayed electric pick-up Cybertruck.
This isn’t the first time Musk’s vehicle company has been implicated in a safety infraction. Tesla’s Fremont, California plant has greatly surpassed other major US auto manufacturers in terms of OSHA infractions in recent years, accruing over $236,000 in fines between 2014 and 2018. Similarly, workers at its factory outside Reno, Nevada, have suffered a litany of accidents, including amputations.
The electric vehicle maker is also currently facing a criminal investigation over the company’s claims about the capabilities of the self-driving system equipped in its electric vehicles.
Most recently, Musk had to sell 19.5 million Tesla shares over the three market days, generating cumulative gross proceeds of $3.9 billion. The billionaire is ramping up revenue streams for Twitter after his acquisition of the platform, for which he has said more than once that he overpaid.
Tesla last traded at US$199.56 on the Nasdaq.
Information for this briefing was found via The Guardian and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.