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Tesla Just Fired Hundreds Of Workers (mercurynews.com) 320

An anonymous reader quotes the Bay Area Newsgroup: Tesla fired hundreds of workers this week, including engineers, managers and factory workers, even as the company struggles to expand its manufacturing and product line... The company said this week's dismissals were the result of a company-wide annual review, and insisted they were not layoffs. Some workers received promotions and bonuses, and the company expects to hire for the "vast majority" of new vacancies, a spokesman said. "As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures," a spokesman said. "Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world."
"Tesla has a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board in November for charges that company supervisors and security guards harassed workers distributing union literature," reports the Bay Area Newsgroup, adding that "Openly pro-union workers were among those fired this week. Some believe they were targeted."

Tesla denies this, and says that they've generally boosted morale this week -- by rewarding higher-performing employees.
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Tesla Just Fired Hundreds Of Workers

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  • So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2017 @09:37AM (#55368029)

    Are these firings the result of stack ranking? If so, why would anyone want to work there.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Same reason as SpaceX: people who want to change the world and do something that they find interesting will put up with a lot more than those working just for a paycheck. It's like asking, "Why do people put up with the long hours, low pay, and job instability of the video game industry?" Answer: Because they want to work in the video game industry. Same reason a lot of pilots put up with their situation: they want to fly planes and get paid for it. And same for many other jobs.

      Anyway, it feels like we're

      • Next up: "Tesla paves new parking lot with asphalt rather than concrete: what's wrong with the stability of the ground at the Gigafactory? Will the foundation collapse and the factory explode in a column of flame that destroys a passing jetliner carrying World's Cutest Child contestants and boxes of extra-snuggly puppies? Stay tuned!"

        My god! I hadn't even thought about that possibility! How horrible of Mr Tesla to do that to puppies! That's it, I'm not buying anymore Tesla cars this year!

      • Why do people put up with the long hours, low pay, and job instability of the video game industry?" Answer:

        Stockholm sydrome!

    • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @11:59AM (#55368691) Homepage

      I obviously don't know what Tesla is really up to. However, should be actually be what they say, I applaud them. One of the horrible things about big organizations is seeing useless people kept on, with everyone else having to carry their dead weight through project after project.

      If Tesla really is just doing a housecleaning to get rid of people who are not doing their jobs, I applaud them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have a friend who used to work at the factory in Fremont. And she's told me plenty of stories that had my jaw dropping about some of the misogynist shitheads there who should really have never been employed at all anywhere, much less in a state with more stringent worker protections like California, and at a Bay Area tech company no less. What she described was well beyond that alt-right MRA idiot's memo at Google. There was full-up harassment: catcalls, direct comments to individuals about "man's work

        • They have tens of thousands of employees. TFS says they fired hundred of workers. That's a 1 percent-ish firing.

          After a period of rapid hiring, you need a firing to get rid of the mistakes.

          This sounds like corporate house cleaning.

          • by murdocj ( 543661 )

            Why all at once? That sounds like a mandated "get rid of x percent" and of course that's the people who aren't buddies with their manager. May well have nothing to do with how competent they are.

            • Why NOT all at once? There are reasons why it could or should happen all at once. There is, of course, the "better to fire people on a Friday" idea that, while I first heard about it from Office Space, does seem to be how companies do operate in real live. If, and the GP and GG suggest, they're correcting the mistaken hires, an annual performance review bay have just been completed and they know now who is the deadweight. If, as the GGP and suggest, they did some post complaint investigation and cleanup

          • You need to learn to read better. TFS says "hundreds", not "hundred", and in the article it states:

            Workers estimated between 400 and 700 employees have been fired. Tesla refused to say how many employees were let go, although the company expects employee turnover to be similar to last year’s attrition.

            So that's around 4%. Not huge - but probably more related to TSLA continuing to lose money.

        • Do you know what the term "tone deaf" means?

  • Not "Layoff"... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2017 @09:49AM (#55368069)

    ... to help prevent potentially having to paying unemployment. Did you know that, at least in Florida, seven out of eight requests for unemployment are denied outright? This is because companies basically are able to set policies that mean unemployment is effectively inaccessible to most workers:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/bu... [sun-sentinel.com]

    Posting anonymously because of the massive amounts of mockery piled onto anyone that posts positively about unemployment, even though most folks end up using it to get through a tough spot in their lives. For some reason, we have a continuous cultural movement to shame it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You don't get ahead through education. You get ahead by being in a union. A week educated wage slave is still a wage slave. A unionized wage slave at least belongs to an organization that can shut down the company. Guess which gets better paid in the long run. Meritocracy works until you have coded yourself out of a job, at which point you are too specialized, too old, too expensive to be a credible wage slave for the next job.

      Stick with the union.

    • 7 outa 8 unemployment insurance applications are denied? That is INSANE. The only reason to treat workers like this is to assure lower wages. Firing & denying unemployment for good reasons is one thing... good reasons like stealing, assault, absenteeism, sexual harassment, etc.. Incompetence? I suppose but you better have solid proof. Even with proof, I don't see cutting someone loose with nothing. My employers regularly hire competent people but then give them no training or guidance, no leader
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Actually, being terminated for poor performance, even though you are being terminated for just cause, is not generally a reason to disallow EI benefits. It may delay them by a week or two, because there can be a small investigation to determine if it was motivated by any kind of ethical misconduct (which disqualifies a person from EI benefits completely), but in the case of being terminated for poor performance where there was no such misconduct, one is still eligible for exactly the same EI benefits they
      • Re:Not "Layoff"... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @12:26PM (#55368801)

        Is that across all states? In California we "terminate with cause" certain employees, which might not be illegal behavior, and we "layoff" others. Terminate with cause is reserved for people that are simply unable to perform their job, and is generally within the 90-day review window. Layoff is for people we want to be able to get unemployment, which covers the vast majority.

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )

          "Layoff" technically covers one case, and one case only: Where there are no short-term plans to replace the terminated employee.

          If there are any plans to replace the employee after termination, then the person is considered "Fired". Note that both of these cases can be either with or without cause (although often, the former has a cause of the company wanting to save money, or needing to downsize on account of hitting some harder times).

          In general, if you were paying EI benefits, and were involuntar

    • Re:Not "Layoff"... (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheLongshot ( 919014 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @11:57AM (#55368685)

      Those who mock unemployment have never been on it. It requires you to report on a weekly basis your job search activities. If you receive an offer and turn it down (because they lowballed you), you need to be able to justify that it wasn't a legitimate offer. Also, what you get is a pittance, hardly enough to live off of. For me, it didn't even pay the bills.

      I was glad to have it, since something is better than nothing, but it isn't exactly free money. (And oh yeah, you still need to pay income tax on it.)

    • the billionaire class attacks it because they want desperate workers who have to take the first job that comes along or starve. Billionaires own the media because we stopped enforcing anti-trust in the name of cutting red tape. Simple as that.
    • I don't think people object to the concept of unemployment assistance. As you say, a lot of people lean on it to get through a tough patch.

      What people generally object to is using it as a regular crutch and/or a lifestyle.

  • Does your job description include "distributing union literature"?

    In $current_century it should be possible to contact employees after work hours via e-mail, text messages, etc. And do so without risking intervention by supervisors or security. The whole face-to-face contact by organizers purportedly to "distribute literature" is at least psychological pressure to acquiesce and at times outright pressure from union thugs.

    • by GNious ( 953874 )

      Do you show up for work at 9:00, and then work non-stop, w/ no breaks or socializing, no getting up for coffee/tea/water etc, and then leave at 17:00?

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        Generally, the employer is required by law to give an employee at least a half hour break for lunch with hours like that. The lunch break does not, however, have to be paid. Requiring an employee to work through their lunch break is actually legitimate grounds for an employee to leave voluntarily and still be eligible for EI benefits, and can even sometimes (although rarely, if ever, by itself) be used as evidence of a case for constructive dismissal, which can be heavily penalized in many jurisdictio
  • Well, well, well... Tesla doesn't want to be unionized? Say it isn't so.

    Of course I'd take this "they fired the Union organizers" with a grain of salt. I'm sure Tesla has CYA documentation for each and every one of these folks. And it kind of makes sense that the pro-Union folks would be lower in the productivity measures, not because they are pro-Union, but because it would be kind of hard to keep Union organizing and doing their work separated.

    In general, Unions have outlived their primary reason to

    • by boudie2 ( 1134233 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @10:17AM (#55368201)
      It was true 100 years ago and it's true today, the only way for workers to get a fair deal is to organize as a group. Let's see how Elon Musk deals with this earth bound reality. Maybe he can get Mars declared a "right to work" state.
      • But...but...but...that's communism!

      • I get paid well and I'm not in a union.... Unions are NOT the only way to be fairly paid...

        Also, such "pay us what we define as fair or else" killed every major airline and car maker in the country in the end and dumped hard working people like my father (who was a union guy himself) onto the pension guarantee corporation and the fraction of the pension he was promised though the Union's efforts in the 25 years he worked there.

        Personally, I think Unions of late do more harm than good in the long term..

        • Agreed, if management played fair you would never need unions. Unfortunately it seems that management almost never plays fair. That's the law of the jungle.
          • by Kohath ( 38547 )

            Agreed, if management played fair you would never need unions. Unfortunately it seems that management almost never plays fair. That's the law of the jungle.

            Since less than 7% of private sector employees are in unions [slashdot.org], that must mean management almost always plays fair in the US.

          • Measuring "fair" by comparing paychecks? How's that relevant to a discussion about Unions?

            So what about my Dad and Mom's pension checks? They worked in union shops for all their lives and got stuck with a fraction of what they were promised. Where is the Union in this? What responsibility does the Union have here?

            1. They let the company skate without fully funding the pension plan.... Why? So they could get raises now for their dues paying members. Who cares about the pension plan? The Union should

            • You make it sound like I kicked your parent's door in and took their pension checks. My only point is that without a union you have zero protection. Not that with a union you have 100% protection from all eventualities.
              • You USED to have zero protection, but now we've codified into law a lot of the protections that Unions used to provide.

                These days, working conditions are controlled by law, work hours are limited by law, payment of overtime is governed by law as are benefits being required for full time workers. Unions don't provide this, the law does.

                Sure, Unions have work rules, minimum staffing rules, who must be called in first rules and (in closed shops) who can and cannot do certain jobs, but I'm not sure how this

        • I get paid well and I'm not in a union.... Unions are NOT the only way to be fairly paid...

          ...than your unique snowflake ass and he's in a union. So does every professional athlete.

          Also, such "pay us what we define as fair or else" killed every major airline and car maker in the country in the end

          Randian Horseshit. Union workers are entirely dependent on the welfare of the company for their jobs and retirement. As opposed to executives who can drive the company into the ground and collect golden parachu [aviationpros.com]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bobbied ( 2522392 )

            So, you don't think the Unions had a duty to my parents and their retirements to demand a fully funded pension fund? I do..

            You don't think the Unions didn't make the financial condition of many of the major companies untenable at least partially due to the demands of their Unions? I do.

            That management gets paid what they do has little to do with the survival or failure of a business. Usually a CEO's salary amounts to pennies on the dollar to the in the trenches worker, yet your ilk want to make some kin

            • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @01:40PM (#55369171)

              So, you don't think the Unions had a duty to my parents and their retirements to demand a fully funded pension fund? I do..

              lolwut. So you hate unions and think they are unnecessary, but at the same time hate them for not being more powerful because they couldn't force the company to better fund their pensions?

              You don't think the Unions didn't make the financial condition of many of the major companies untenable at least partially due to the demands of their Unions? I do.

              If the company can't exist without wage slavery, it doesn't deserve to exist. And what part of "unions accept massive cutbacks while executives take golden parachutes" did I stutter on? When was the last time you saw top company executives agree to work for $10 an hour to get the company back on track?

              That management gets paid what they do has little to do with the survival or failure of a business. Usually a CEO's salary amounts to pennies on the dollar to the in the trenches worker, yet your ilk want to make some kind of moral argument about how unfair it is that one person gets so much and the new guy gets so little of the company's revenue.

              If you think that was an explanation for why CEO's get increased pay even as their decisions drive the company into the ground, you are sadly mistaken.

              Personally I'm tired of the arguments born out of class envy

              There it is. You sir, are a temporarily embarrassed millionaire. [goodreads.com]

              Like it or not, this country has EQUAL opportunity codified in our laws but we DON'T have equal outcome guarantees.

              If you don't have equal outcomes statistically then by definition you do not have equal opportunity.

              Otherwise your Starbucks barista would have an equal chance of having a last name of Rockefellar as your Fortune 500 CEO has a chance of growing up in a double-wide. But of course that's not the case.

      • The problem is that what we need is for all workers to be represented by one group if we are going to get protection for all workers. As it is, the complacent unions that are entrenched now suck all the air out of the room.

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        the only way for workers to get a fair deal is to organize as a group

        The only way for anyone to get a better deal is to organize as a group.

        We've known this truth for thousands of years too...

        Maybe he can get Mars declared a "right to work" state.

        Or, maybe, free travel to Mars is another human right?

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @11:04AM (#55368443) Homepage

      First of all you, you seem to have missed the primary function of unions which is to make a fair share of the wealth generation go back to the workers, not merely the capitalists. Working conditions, health and safety, working hours and so on have always been secondary struggles where the workers demand some other form of compensation than wages. In that respect unions are failing horribly [wordpress.com] and apart from the minimum wage - that in real dollars is no higher than in the 1950s - the government is not going to fix.

      It's no doubt that if you're a struggling business the unions can be a burden but if they were generally driving companies out of business the richest 15% [wordpress.com] wouldn't be making more and more money while everyone else loses. What you're seeing is a system where the money is extracted whenever the business is profitable, then makes everyone else take the burden when it's unprofitable. The US has managed to create something worse than social welfare, it's corporate welfare where you take from the tax payers and give to the corporations.

      For example, why was your future retirement income to the company's future? Put that money into a pension fund when you do work, if the company goes tits up or you change jobs or lose your job it stops accumulating but it's yours. Or at least a potential share if you make it to retirement age. I mean they're back in business now aren't they? Making money again, which is extracted until the next crisis when the coffers again will be mysteriously empty. And they've done a great frame job when people like you blame the unions for that, nothing like 1%ers making the other 99% blame each other.

      • Ah, but the pension problem WAS a Union failure on two counts.

        1. The Union's could have demanded the FULL funding of the pension NOW, not just higher and higher retirement benefits in the future. They failed their membership in this by being short sighted, pay me a "fair" wage now demands. What happened to my parents happened to thousands upon thousands in many industries which were unionized. I've NEVER seen a Union demand that the pension fund be fully funded to cover future liabilities, only that ben

  • by onkelonkel ( 560274 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @10:07AM (#55368159)

    From TFA it sounds like about 2 - 3% of the total workforce was fired. The firings were all ranks in the company including managers and engineers, not just the factory laborers.So it may have been nothing more than a pruning of the very lowest performers.

    • So the company can't figure out how to trim its workforce of the 2-3% dead weight except once a year through some sort of rank and yank? Shit, that's terrible. No wonder they're floundering. Perhaps they ought to try getting employees the help they need to become great workers or find them roles where they can actually contribute appropriately, instead of pulling this "the beatings will continue until morale improves" bullshit.
      • That's called ripping the bandaid off. Firing people is bad for morale so why spread it around over time.
  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @10:08AM (#55368165)

    Obviously.... [instagram.com]

    All they had to do was take a trip out into their parking lot, find the employees responsible for some of the idiotic parking jobs collected on Instagram and other places on the internet, and fire them, because they are simply too stupid to hold a job that pays better than minimum wage.

    Yes, that would help with morale, too.

    • What's really scary is the people who can't even park their own car are working at a place which builds cars.

      If you find this comment funny, insightful or interesting, please donate a few Dogecoins to DNsSKbyNsi7369SGdvbKqLM9h4D5wAvmGD.

  • Build all US facilities in right-to-work states. Seems to work for BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, and Hyundai.

  • 1. Why was it so abrupt? Usually, there's a process which is followed for non-performance to force someone out. Performance improvement program (PIP) comes to mind. The firings seem abrupt, but we'll probably not know if some procedure was followed or not.

    2. Does Tesla use stack ranking? If so, you probably don't want to work there. Any company practicing stack ranking causes employees to compete against each other instead of focusing on the challenges in the business. Stack ranking may work for a few revie

  • "Openly pro-union workers were among those fired this week"

    Assuming it was an average distribution of bad workers that were dismissed, I'd actually rhink it was a miracle if there were literally no pro-union employees amongst them.

    • What anti-union company is not going to use general terminations to rid itself of organizers? I think Musk is a latter day Thomas Edison - that is not a compliment [listverse.com] - but I don't think he's an idiot. Anyone in a non-union position can find out very quickly that companies have lots of ways to fire people.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        I agree, and independently came to the very same conclusion a while ago about him being another old-school industrialist (which as you say is not a good thing).
        I'm just saying that the report makes a very large accusation that Musk IS firing people just because they are pro-union without zero actual evidence, just on the basis that one or more pro-union people were amongst the hundreds fired.
        That said I could totally imagine him doing it.

        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          Agreed then. The other eyeroll-inducing part of this story is how he's calling this a mass firing instead of layoffs, purely to avoid paying unemployment benefits. Elon, you're really telling us you've been collecting a list of people to be terminated with cause but waited until now to do it, because reasons?

  • Not sure if anyone's called this out, but it's pretty clear this is just union busting. Pretty common stuff Musk couldn't get away with if the working class would just stop fighting among themselves...
  • believing that there isn't SOMETHING going on. I really have trouble believing that they had several hundred under-performing employees, and that they chose to get rid of them all at the same time.

    If it were true, it would mean that management is incompetent and should get on the way out as well - because if you let hundreds of folks who aren't up to the task hang around till performance appraisal time, then you suck at management.

    So, are they lying about why these folks got the ax? Or are they stupid and s

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