Tesla appears to have registered a slew of anti-union domain names earlier this month as employees at the electric vehicle maker’s California facility begin pushing the company to unionize.
More than 20 domain names referencing Tesla and the United Automobile Workers (UAW) were registered at brand protection registrar MarkMonitor on March 3, according to DomainNameWire, a website that charts domain registrations. Some of the names registered include “teslaunionfree.com” and “uawkillsjobs.com.”
Tesla uses MarkMonitor for its domain name registrations, suggesting the Silicon Valley company is behind the registrations. Some of the names appear designed to prevent pro-union forces from using the domains.
The move comes as Tesla continues to catch flak about its supposedly toxic work environment. Activists have also criticized the company for offering employees meager wages for long hours.
Employee Jose Moran said in a February editorial that the factory’s “machinery is often not ergonomically compatible with our bodies,” and requires “too much twisting and turning and extra physical movement to do jobs that could be simplified if workers’ input were welcomed.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who describes the company as “union neutral,” accused the company’s production assistant of being a union stooge paid to “agitate for a union.” UAW later knocked down Musk’s claims, telling reporters that he “is not and has not been paid by the UAW.”
Moran wrote that his fellow workers are often faced with “excessive mandatory overtime” and earn paltry wages when compared to the national average of $25.58 hourly for most autoworkers in the U.S. He said the astronomical cost of living in California area makes Tesla’s current $21-an-hour wage less than livable for many workers.
Musk has promised to deliver between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s to the market in the second half of 2017. The company has never produced more than 80,000 vehicles in one year, namely due to the comparatively high cost of building electric vehicles. Any increase in labor cost could eat into Tesla’s ability to hit deadlines.
Analysts are already worried Musk won’t be able to hit his quota.
“[O]ur concerns are more near-term oriented with respect to operational execution on the Model 3 launch, an unproven solar business, and cash needs,” David Tamberrino, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, wrote in a memo last month referring to Tesla’s decision to meld with SolarCity.
Tamberrino was also worried the company would have to sell stock to raise $1.7 billion to make room for a possible loss if the Model 3 doesn’t make the grade. The financial institution ultimately downgraded the company from “neutral” to “sell.”
Tesla, which employs more than 5,000 non-union workers, has traded between $180 and $280 recently, but Goldman Sachs’ sell grade pushes the company’s stock toward the bottom of that range, he added. The highly-leveraged company is still up 14 percent in 2017.
Tesla did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for this article’s publication.
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