The CEO is known for outsized claims and ambitious goals. But several factory worker say he doesnt follow through and that his leader mounts a troubling tone
Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, had emailed his entire faculty following the May 2017 publications of separate investigations by the Guardian and a workplace safety organization showing high harm proportions at the company’s northern California electric car factory.
” No messages can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing ,” Musk wrote.” Going forward, I’ve asked that every trauma be reported instantly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform .”
Musk, an accountability Houdini, had turned the facts of the case that some of his employees were dealing with life-changing injuries into glowing press about his leadership. If simply his promises were true.
” He didn’t meet with me ,” said Richard Ortiz, a former Tesla factory worker who was injured at work in July 2017.
” That’s PR; that’s bologna ,” said another current Tesla employee, who said Musk had never met with him about the three pinched nerves in his arm.
” He didn’t meet with me, and my occurrence was filed ,” said a third Tesla employee, who was injured in October.” If he was truly going to meet with all the employees who got injured, he would be here for half the year .”
Whether Musk ever intended to follow through on his text to meet” every injured person” is an open question. But in conversations with more than 10 present and former Tesla employees over the past month, workers described the consequences of having a boss whose bombastic promises- to stockholders, to customers and to them- often become unfulfilled. While the billionaire’s loose tongue and overly optimistic statements may still excite his forces of love and purchasers, numerous factory workers feel that they have become collateral mar.
Of the workers who spoke to the Guardian for this article, six had been injured at work. None of them ever heard instantly from Musk or had him perform their task on the assembly line.