Category Archives: UAW

My last day at the plant

I missed a company event yesterday because I chose to watch the birth of my child instead. So I’m walking on eggshells this morning as I punch the clock at the Tesla plant. Eggshells? No, as I bend down and look more closely, I see I’m walking through a shallow river of raw sewage flowing across the factory floor.

I duck into the locker room to change my soiled shoes and pants. I can hear muffled moaning. It’s coming from the showers. I peek around the corner. A bunch of black Tesla engineers are scrubbing the floor. They’ve got it easy. At least they have pants on. The white women are forced to scrub the floor wearing nothing but pink thongs every day except casual Fridays, when they’re totally naked.

Back on the floor, the factory seems a little giddy. Everyone is giggling. Of course! The food truck just came. That’s where everyone gets their daily pharma fix. Everyone is happy after the food truck visits, but the error rate goes way up. In fact, last week the piles of defective parts and punctured batteries blocked the food truck. See the vicious cycle?

Wait — I’m being called to the parking lot. That’s ominous. Yes — I knew it. They’ve set up an altar and Elon is putting on his hood. It’s time for a human sacrifice, and it’s me this time. So the recruiter was right when he said working for Tesla would require a bit of human sacrifice. I guess this is my comeuppance for missing that company event yesterday. Oh well. Time to punch out for the day. Or maybe it doesn’t matter at this point.

— This dramatization sponsored by the UAW, based on actual events

The dark side of “made in the USA”

Sally Field Normal Rae 420 TeslaMondoSept. 2010: Chrysler UAW workers are caught drinking, smoking weed at a public park during lunch break. Chrysler and the union issue canned statements denouncing the behavior. UAW statement ends with: “(UAW) strongly opposes the use of controlled substances or alcohol use on the job. This type of behavior jeopardizes the health and safety of all employees. We also recognize that, unfortunately, these behaviors exist in our society.” Did you catch the forgiving tone of that last sentence?

July 2011: It happens again, this time at a UAW hall parking lot, on lunch break. More canned statements. Chrysler fires them.

August 2012: Court forces Chrysler to re-hire the same guys, for the same jobs. Look for the union label at a Chrysler dealer near you.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.07.40 PMDoes this sound like Tesla’s cup of tea? No. It’s not Toyota’s either. Even before the Chrysler incident, Toyota ditched its ties to the UAW at the first opportunity, when GM went bankrupt and left Toyota as sole operator at the NUMMI plant in California. Nissan and VW recently rejected unionization efforts too. UAW membership is way, way off its peak despite recent incremental gains. Like Detroit itself, it’s a heap of rusty bolts.

The UAW unwittingly creates an ironclad case for automation. Speaking of which, shouldn’t Tesla’s X-Men robots work with only the most upstanding human role models? The robots may be physically strong, but they’re young and impressionable. Subject them to the wrong human element, and soon they’ll be standing against the back wall of the Fremont plant, texting and sipping coffee. Or worse.