According to reputable published reports, Tesla has fired or laid off hundreds of employees including engineers, managers, and factory workers. However, a company spokesman said that administrative, and sales positions were included. Tesla, renown for its public relations team, is characterizing the purge as a normal after-review adjustment. Estimates of the carnage, pun intended, range from 400 to 700 employees. Many employees received their walking papers with little or no notice, which is suspicious since employees with bad reviews almost always know that they are operating on borrowed time and are very rarely surprised when they are terminated.
A few thoughts: one, Tesla has turned a profit only once since inception and that appears to be linked to the sale of pollution credits so perhaps they are sprucing up the balance sheet for a future offering; two, Tesla is behind in the production of their latest Model 3 vehicle and perhaps this is a realignment of personnel to stimulate employees to work both smarter and harder; three, this could be an attempt to free-up and redeploy capital to the assembly line; and four, could it be that this is simply a cover for eliminating pro-union employees? Not such an outlandish idea when one finds that Tesla is facing the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) to answer allegations that some Tesla managers and security personnel may have discouraged workers from handing out union organizing literature. Of course, Tesla denies the allegations and any suggestion that they targeted key pro-union workers. Some employees have complained about Tesla’s confidentiality policy as being unduly restrictive when it comes to union organizing. But, what can you expect from a car manufacturer that makes allegedly makes buyers sign an unprecedented non-disclosure form when receiving warranty or complimentary repairs.
Tesla, a company that exists on government subsidies, grants, allowances, tax incentives, also is said to have labor costs far less than the rest of the industry, hence the union organizing push. Remembering what the auto unions have done to automakers and the cities and states that they operate in, one might believe that unionization might be a nail in Tesla’s tire.