Tesla factory workers reportedly getting into shouting matches — and even brawling

Tesla factory workers reportedly getting into shouting matches — and even brawling

Robots during the production of the Tesla Model Y in the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide, Germany. In Tesla’s gigafactory plant in Texas, the atmosphere is tense — with near daily verbal fights, The Information reported. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Tesla’s Texas gigafactory is home to near-daily worker outbursts, The Information reported.
The police have also responded to multiple calls regarding physical altercations, the report said.
Elon Musk has been known to push workers through “production hell.”

Workers at Tesla’s Austin gigafactory may be feeling the pressure from Elon Musk’s deadlines.

Some workers from the Texas factory told The Information that verbal fights occur at the facility on a near-daily basis — and even some physical fights have taken place, they said.

Local police were called on some occasions, the report said. Police received multiple phone calls about physical altercations, including with a weapon — and some that were categorized as “terroristic threats,” the report said.

In one instance, Tesla emailed employees at the site in July regarding an “active attacker” at the gigafcatory, but the Travis County (Texas) sheriff told The Information that they didn’t find an attacker or any victims after they searched the location.

The Information’s report also analyzed workplace injuries at the factory and found that about one in every 21 workers dealt with some kind of injury at the factory last year, according to data the publication cited from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. For comparison, the median for an automotive factory of a similar size is about one in 30, the publication said.

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Tesla employs about 20,000 workers at the Austin factory, and plans to triple the number in the ramp-up for its Cybertruck, a company spokesperson told the San Antonio Express-News in September.

A spokesperson for Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The Information’s report comes after Reuters published an investigation into workplace injuries at SpaceX earlier this month. Some workers told the publication that employees were taking Adderall and sleeping at the factory in order to keep up with Elon Musk’s deadlines. The news agency looked at 600 work injuries at SpaceX over the past 9 years.

SpaceX didn’t respond to a detailed request for comment from Reuters on its article.

Musk has been known to run his companies with high intensity, sometimes calling for work sprints and even sleeping on the factory floor at Tesla.

At the Austin gigafactory, the electric-car maker is working to deliver its first electric pickup truck. Musk has warned that scaling production of the Cybertruck will be “extremely difficult.”

Ahead of the 2017 release of the Model 3, Musk famously pushed workers at Tesla’s Fremont factory through “production hell.”

And in 2018, Bloomberg reported on safety complaints from workers related to the production ramp, including an instance where workers allegedly walked through raw sewage to keep a factory line moving.

A Tesla spokesperson denied the accusations at the time.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees,” A Tesla representative told Insider in 2018. “This is not to say that there aren’t real issues that need to be dealt with at Tesla or that we’ve made no mistakes with any of the 40,000 people who work at our company. However, there should be absolutely no question that we care deeply about the well-being of our employees and that we try our absolute hardest to do the right thing and to fail less often. With each passing month, we improve safety further and will keep doing so until we have the safest factory in the world by far.”

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