Allegations surface about serious labor violations at Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas

Whistleblowers have come forward with claims of grave labor and employment violations for the construction workers employed in building Tesla, Inc.’s automotive manufacturing facility Gigafactory Texas, in Austin, TX, between 2020 and 2022. Photo © 2022 Larry D. Moore, via Wikipedia under license CC BY 4.0

Whistleblowers have come forward with claims of grave labor and employment violations for the construction workers employed in building Tesla, Inc.’s automotive manufacturing facility Gigafactory Texas, in Austin, between 2020 and 2022.

These workers claimed to have also filed last week a formal complaint and a case referral with the federal labor department’s Occupational safety and health Administration (OSHA). According to Guardian, one of the workers reported in a statement that required training about workers’ health, safety, and rights was waived off by an unnamed subcontractor, replacing the documentation with fake certificates of completion. He also said that his team was asked to work on the factory’s metal roof at night without any lights, toil away on top of smoke-billowing turbines without protective masks, and in one specific instance, work on a flooded floor strewn with live wiring with cords submerged in water. Other workers complained about hazardous working conditions too, as well as on-the-job accidents, and wage theft, in the form of either not being given any compensation for their work, or for the overtime they put in.

As an example, some of the workers who put in hours over last year’s Thanksgiving never received the promised double-pay bonuses, as stated in Tuesday’s case referral to the federal Department of Labor’s wage and hour division.

“Tesla was not—didn’t seem—interested in using their power to ensure that everyone was able to go home at the end of the day without injuries, with all the money that they’re owed in their pockets,” said Hannah Alexander, a staff attorney for Workers Defense Project, a non-profit helping the construction workers.

Tesla has so far refrained from responding to a request to comment, so has the Workers Defense Project held back from sharing identifying information about the accused contractors and subcontractors for confidentiality reasons amidst investigation.

Between 2014 and 2018, OSHA fined over $236,000 to Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California, for labor violations, a figure far greater than other US automakers. Similarly at its factory outside Reno, Nevada, workers have faced a slew of injuries, including amputations.

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5 comments on “Allegations surface about serious labor violations at Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas”

  1. It’s shocking that this qualifies as a headline on the Construction Specifier. First of all, it is entirely unclear that this story has any relationship to the construction industry. If such connections exist, why not emphasize them? Second, everyone know there’s a dark side to the green power industry, but this is not the time to bring it to light. We have a climate crisis that needs to be solved, and like any great conflict, lives must be sacrificed for the cause. We don’t talk about the conditions in lithium mines, we don’t talk about the waste streams from photocell production, we don’t talk about the impact of windmills on wildlife, and we don’t talk about working conditions in electric car factories. Turn the tide of climate change first, then you can whine about your inconveniences at the factory.

    1. if you would have read the article, it clearly has everything to do with construction. these are incidents that occurred during the construction of the new building, not after it opened for production. the story isn’t about green power and/or a fake climate crisis…..its about the way people are forced to work in dangerous conditions and probably perform shoddy work to get the project completed on time and under budget……I see it quite often on the jobsite’s I work at. not so much the dangerous jobsites, but shoddy workmanship. there are a lot of people in construction who are not trained correctly for the work they perform…. lots of cutting corners! quit worrying about a climate crisis that you have no power to control, and worry about the things you can help control, like making certain construction workers get the proper training to perform their assigned task. the earth’s climate is constantly changing, and that’s gonna happen whether mankind does anything or not…hate to tell you, but we don’t have a lot of say so in the manner. Mother nature will do as she wishes….everybody claims the weather is getting worse…..that’s BS….I am a lifelong resident of Oklahoma, and our weather hasn’t gotten worse, the reason things seem worse is because now when an EF-5 tornado hits, it has a much better chance of hitting a developed area, where 50 years ago that same area was an open pasture. Its called urban sprawl, and likewise for the news coverage….50 years ago, we didn’t have the 24 hour news coverage, nor did we have cameras everywhere…..same weather now as 50 years ago, just more news coverage and more structure damage because areas are more populated now than 50 years ago….and it costs a lot more to rebuild….sorry to burst your climate change bubble!!!

  2. The reality.
    Big profitable company with lawyers(circling sharks), looking for a big payday. We worked at night without lights, really? I call BS on that one. These are all contractors issues, not Tesla issues.
    Our government loves this story especially since our president won’t mention Tesla????

  3. Shame on CS for inflaming commentary by pointing the finger at Tesla and suggesting that “they” were responsible for actions of the GC, subs and any other supervisory entity. It’s too easy to enjoin social media and news outlets to glamorize a situation that could be addressed through enforcement channels already in place. If Tesla construction management has been approached and they’ve done nothing to address the problems, they have earned the criticism. But there is no mention of Tesla being contacted by the workforce or the Guardian reporter(s). CS should have vetted this “story” and gathered their own information before they simply repeated another entity’s posture.

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