Fake news is back in the news.
On Thursday, Jose Moran wrote a blog post titled, “Time for Tesla to Listen.” In it, Moran cited several complaints about the conditions he and others experience working at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California.
- “Most of my 5,000-plus coworkers work well over 40 hours a week, including excessive mandatory overtime.”
- “Preventable injuries happen often… machinery is often not ergonomically compatible with our bodies.”
- “… jobs… could be simplified if workers’ input were welcomed. “
- “Add a shortage of manpower and a constant push to work faster to meet production goals, and injuries are bound to happen.”
- “Most Tesla production workers earn between $17 and $21 hourly. The average auto worker in the nation earns $25.58 an hour.”
- “Many of my coworkers are commuting one or two hours before and after those long shifts because they can’t afford to live closer to the plant.”
- “In November, they offered a raise to employees’ base pay — the first we’ve seen in a very long time.”
- “Management actions are feeding workers’ fears about speaking out.”
- “Recently, every worker was required to sign a confidentiality policy that threatens consequences if we exercise our right to speak out about wages and working conditions.”
The 43-year-old Moran summarized his argument by saying, “The issues go much deeper than just fair pay. Injuries, poor morale, unfair promotions, high turnover, and other issues aren’t just bad for workers — they also impact the quality and speed of production. They can’t be resolved without workers having a voice and being included in the process.” He states that he has been an employee at the Tesla Fremont plant for the last four years and is “tired” but “loyal.”
The blog Gizmodo has stated that Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to their request for comment via Twitter direct message. He is said to have replied that Moran “was paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union. He doesn’t really work for us, he works for the UAW.”
The United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) had represented Fremont factory workers when it was owned by General Motors. However, that relationship ended when Tesla bought the factory in 2010. The UAW reacted to Musk’s accusations with the following statement: “Mr. Moran is not and has not been paid by the UAW. We would hope that Tesla would apologize to their employee, Mr. Moran, for spreading fake news about him.”
Fake news has been a prevalent topic of conversation following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Facebook, as one of the most popular social media outlets, revised its policy about reproducing misinformation. Melissa Zimbars, assistant professor of communication and media at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, compiled a list of sites that didn’t seem newsworthy as well as hints about how to spot fake news. More controversies about fake news erupted, this time about Zimbars’ choices and methodology.
“What we need to do is to figure out a way to deploy the weapons of truth as effectively as other people are deploying the weapons of dissembling,” Politico senior political correspondent Glenn Thrush said on an episode of the Diane Rehm Show.