UAW says it will greet Tesla workers with 'open arms'

Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:56pm EST
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By Alexandria Sage and Joseph White

SAN FRANCISCO/DETROIT (Reuters) - The United Automobile Workers union on Friday said it had been approached by workers at Tesla Inc's (TSLA.O: Quote) Fremont, California, assembly plant, rejecting a charge by the chief executive of the luxury electric car maker that a worker who publicly criticized the company was on the UAW payroll.

The nascent move to organize at Tesla's factory shines an unwelcome spotlight on allegations of long hours, mandatory overtime and preventable injuries at a time when Tesla is accelerating production to meet ambitious targets.

The worker, 43-year-old Jose Moran, said on Friday his goal was to unionize at the factory where he has worked since 2012, often pulling 12-hour days, six days a week.

"A lot of workers believe we have a right for union representation and a right to represent ourselves and our own interest. We don't believe the company is doing that for us," Moran told reporters during a conference call.

Earlier in the day, the UAW said Moran had never been paid by the union.

"We can confirm that Mr. Moran and others at Tesla have approached the UAW and we welcome them with open arms," the union said.

The Fremont factory was once a UAW-represented operation, owned by General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote), but became non-union when Tesla took over in 2010.

Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, told the website Gizmodo on Thursday that 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."   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo hangs on a building outside of a Tesla dealership in New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo