Union supporters at Tesla factory say Model 3 "production hell" isn't safe

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by dangelomatt12, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. dangelomatt12

    dangelomatt12 Member

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    #1 dangelomatt12, Aug 10, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2017
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    Pro-union workers at Tesla’s Fremont factory are worried about safety at the plant as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company enter Model 3 “production hell.”

    Two pro-union workers at the Fremont facility told Business Insider that there could be issues with the production line and worker safety.

    Tesla allegedly skipped a trial on new assembly line equipment, and issues with that equipment could lead to worker injury, according to the two workers.

    In addition to assembly line tests, the workers expressed concern for the “production hell” that will descend on the factory this fall.

    Because of the heightened expectations surrounding production, the two workers fear that excessive overtime may be required of staff and could lead to overworked, tired workers and thus injuries.

    As production of the Model 3 ramps up, unionization efforts have begun by some workers at the plant. Tesla has worked to adjust its production line in response, but the workers contend that more still needs to be done.

    The workers’ claims oppose those made by Musk concerning how refined and efficient the Model 3 production process is expected to be.  

    “We’ve gone to great pains with the Model 3 to design it for manufacturing and to not have all sorts of bells and whistles and special features,” Musk said in May during a first-quarter earnings call. “We’ve designed it to be easy to make.”

    The inside information comes as Tesla prepares to deliver its first high-volume, affordable EV. However, in addition to these workers’ concerns, BI also highlighted that Tesla has taken a bit of a risk by not undergoing a prototype production phase for the Fremont plant.

    While the plant was shut down a few months ago to install equipment for Model 3 production, the company skipped the “soft tooling” phase that would allow the company to work out production issues with disposable equipment and fine-tune its process.

    Some workers worry about how the plant will handle the massive production increase that is expected.

    “I have my doubts with that because, just like anything new, there are always going to be adjustments that need to be made and you can’t guarantee a flawless, injury-free line right off the launch,” Michael Catura, a Tesla battery production associate, told the outlet. “You’re going to have to deal with all the bugs, all the kinks.”

    This news comes a little over a week after a group of Tesla employees wrote a letter to the independent members of the company’s board of directors pushing for access to Tesla’s safety plan, clarity on compensation and neutrality, and non-retaliation agreements in an effort toward unionization. The letter and unionization efforts were led by the “Tesla Workers’ Organizing Committee” and posted on union-backed website fairfutureattesla.org.

    With a major bond offering on the table and Tesla’s final test as an automaker rapidly approaching, Musk is surely hoping that any controversy dies down so production can go off without a hitch.

    Article: Union supporters at Tesla factory say Model 3 "production hell" isn't safe
     
  2. YogaJohn

    YogaJohn New Member

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    In reading the story it sounds like two workers are saying they are worried that "maybe" production of the model 3 might be dangerous, and "maybe" they will be injured. Also, it's 2 workers out of 6000. It's kind of like saying that going outside is dangerous because maybe get hit by a car. It's just a little bizarre and I would think doesn't help they union goals, and I'll over unions, but come on.
     
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  3. Mark Schaffer

    Mark Schaffer Member

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    I thought battery production was at the Gigafactory. The article is vague on what exact concerns in detail are being "worried" about by two workers. Ulterior motives?
     
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  4. Jaken

    Jaken New Member

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    Most of these types of unionization efforts inside a company are usually sponsored by the unions themselves. Also I have no doubt that Ford and GM have something to do with the continuing efforts to unionize Tesla. You know they have to be doing everything they can to slow Tesla down. Getting a union formed in Tesla is one of the perfect ways to do that.
     
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  5. Snowcat

    Snowcat Member

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    Onions.... I mean unions...
     
  6. Pete Lee

    Pete Lee New Member

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    #6 Pete Lee, Aug 11, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
    I a Model 3 deposit holder and have held a substantial amount of Tesla stock for almost four years. I am 100% behind Tesla's workers unionizing: I believe that treating workers well, ensuring safety in the workplace, and things like "works councils" to enhance and make processes better over time will maximize the return on my investment.

    We need look no further than the legacy of NUMMI (joint GM/Toyota venture), which is now the home of Tesla's Fremont, CA factory. Toyota did a splendid job working with the union and transformed an ailing operation into something that both the union's workers and management were deeply and deservedly proud of.

    I would also note that I have great confidence that Tesla will rapidly make their production operations the safest in the world--by a long shot. It would strike me as really weird that a company that excels at sophisticated machine learning and motion planning (robotics) could not figure out how to optimize production ergonomics and safety. Tesla: you got this!
     
  7. D-God-69

    D-God-69 New Member

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    Best companies to work for are the ones that do not need unions, which are typically self serving. Will not help Tesla to become profitable. Elon prefers to offer company stock and hands on type of approach and I think that is the way to go.
     
  8. Michael Russo

    Michael Russo Moderator

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    Irrespective of relative merits of having unions more or less active @ carmakers, and obviously counting on Elon to focus his manufacturing operations on minimizing all sorts of safety, promoting a culture of 'Nobody gets hurt', I caution everyone to consider Business Insider articles pertaining to T≡SLA with a critical eye as I have typically observed them to be more on the T≡SLA-bashing mode... :rolleyes:
     
  9. Pete Lee

    Pete Lee New Member

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    Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Toyota, and Honda all have unions. I would hardly call those bad auto companies to work for.
     
  10. Linedoggy

    Linedoggy New Member

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    After doing some calculations for Tesla to produce 10,000 Model 3 vehicles a month the plant would have to operate two 12 hour shifts 6 days a weeks, minus lunch and breaks the workers will have a new Model 3 going through their assembly station every 46 seconds
     
  11. Michael Russo

    Michael Russo Moderator

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    Actually the target is 20k per month as of December '17... and 10k a week as 'sometimes in 2018'... extraordinary feat!!

    No wonder it will take going thru hell to get there!
     
  12. Linedoggy

    Linedoggy New Member

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    Let's take a look at what it costs in labor to assemble a automobile.
    First you have your direct labor your( value added ) workers that are physically putting parts on the car, this makes up about 15% of the cost of the car.

    Now you have your indirect labor (non value added) these workers support the value added workers, (material handlers, QC, skilled trades, janitor) these jobs account for about 7% of vehicle cost .

    The higher cost of the vehicle will result in these numbers being lower.
    (Eg.it costs the same in labor to secure 4 bolts in a Chevy Sonic or Cadillac, but in the Cadillac there is a higher profit margin)

    My point here is that if you design your assembly Process to reduce non value added work the more efficient your assembly Process will be.

    The people building the vehicles are your best resource for improvement in your process, they know their jobs the best and how to improve them .

    Engagement with production workforce will lead to a flawless launch
     
  13. Michael Russo

    Michael Russo Moderator

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    That is all true. In the case of T≡SLA we also need to factor in the increasingly robotized assembly which is likely to be instrumental to enable such an amazing S curve ramp-up!
     
  14. Linedoggy

    Linedoggy New Member

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    Tesla is doing nothing new by adding robots,most high output automotive plants employee armies of them to cut down on direct labor.

    I would love to see a Harbour Report on the Tesla Freemont Plant.
    A resent article I read, compared the Freemont Plant when it was Nummi to Tesla in HPV (hours per vehicle) the bottom line of the article was that Nummi could produce 3 times as many vehicles as Tesla does with the S, X, and Roadster with 14% less personal
     
  15. ianstuart

    ianstuart New Member

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    So two union members "think" that Tesla is "unsafe". Convenient for Detroit and the Koch brothers but hardly constituting proof. What are the accident rates at Fremont? I would be surprised if they were as high as the typical ICE plant in Michigan given the high degree of automation in the Fremont plant and the fact that a Tesla has so much less complexity. If the employees wish to join a union they are, of course, entitled to do so but I haven't seen any evidence of a groundswell of support
     
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  16. Michael Russo

    Michael Russo Moderator

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    Folks, we've probably gotten to the bottom of this one. Bottom line, the source article was probably suspicious; and unions, provided they maintain a constructive attitude, have in some cases proved to have a certainly value...
    Everybody isn't entitled to express their opinion yet let's not deviate off course too much more on a nearly political debate... please, right, @gene ?
     
  17. Linedoggy

    Linedoggy New Member

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    #17 Linedoggy, Aug 16, 2017 at 10:43 AM
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017 at 11:02 AM
    B
    Do you think Tesla is the only automotive plant that has a high degree of automation, their robots are mostly Kuka off the shelf robots that are used in a lot of high volume automotive plants,Tesla is doing nothing ground breaking in automotive manufacturing and I would say way behind in the manufacturing of automobiles.

    As for their S curve.....
    Most high volume automotive manufacturers would take less than 2 months to be at full production after the first saleable unit rolls off the assembly line. So you ordered your model 3 in 2016 and you don't get it till 2018.....unheard of.....so the guy at the red light asks you is that a 2017,2018 or is that a 2019 Model3 your driving? At least the big 3 auto makers make some cosmetic and power train changes to their vehicles year to year, then make whole platform changes to models say every 5 years are sooner.

    As to the accident rate at Tesla is way higher than other automotive manufacturers
    Take a look at the attached document, no wonder the employees are seeking protection of the UAW.

    Looking at the WorkSafe report if they are having this many injuries making less than 100,000 vehicles a year, what will the injuries be when they are producing 10,000 vehicles a week.
    That's a model 3 at 79 vehicles a hour , 21 hours a day, 6 days a week to make 500,000 a year.
    This is a disaster for the guys on the line bodies and minds........that's about 46 seconds to complete your job on each car.
     

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  18. Dan8

    Dan8 New Member

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    Agree. Forced to work in a union environment in my early life. Got an education and spent 40 years in non union environment. Unions never help anyone except themselves.
     
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