That said, I would certainly like to see them improve in this area. I'm a big fan of Tesla, but they are not without their flaws, and working conditions appear to be one of them. They should do better. Not because it somehow conflicts with their mission, but just because it's the right thing to do.
To paraphrase: "The ends justify the means".
I disagree. That road leads to all kinds of evil.
> if it's necessary to do so
There is no road in the context. It's either sacrifice the small group, or save the whole - that's the entire proposition. If you remove the necessity part, that changes the equation entirely.
There's nothing obvious about it, look at the debates around assassinating Hitler for a historical example: http://theconversation.com/killing-hitler-when-is-assassinat...
As long as we drive on that road on autopilot, no one will notice.
Your confidently declared decree of fact here suggests that you have some sort of god view that allows you to see all possible outcomes and interactions in all possible worlds.
It's also possible that sacrificing the people who actually know how to make things in order to facilitate profit and ego will lead to the annihilation of the society.
I think that's contradictory. If you are setting out to save the world, but you can't improve factory conditions for your own workers, how have you shown the capability to save the world?
I'm reminded of having a strong AI agent that's given the condition "save humanity". That condition can be satisfied by having no humans on the planet to save.
It's irrelevant. Nothing you do for worker satisfaction in one factory demonstrates whether you can or cannot save the world. There is absolutely no contradiction in treating them separately. This doesn't excuse making workers unhappy, but it's really a separate issue.
A similar argument could be made about the Cold War and McCarthyism. It is simply nonsensical to mistake the goal of "saving the world" with the goal of "don't ever treat anyone slightly questionably ever again".
It's just not relevant. It's a non sequitur. It's "A is bad, B is good, you're doing A, therefore you can't do B."
Why then we don't revert to capturing slaves in poor countries and have them "save the whole" (like, recycle garbage by manual labour) while working 18 hr/day?
We can surely sacrifice their well-being in order to save the world for us, can't we?
You can't use people as slaves unless situation is so that everybody has to become slave. Also, you can't use people as a tool (without their consent).
There's not much to discuss. We've been there already with Hitler's Work Camps and Stalin's GULAG Camps.
> There's not much to discuss.
Since it's just an unrealistic though experiment, I wouldn't dismiss out of hand the idea of "enslaving" everyone for a short time for some kind of amazing outcome.
> We've been there already with Hitler's Work Camps and Stalin's GULAG Camps.
Ha. No. Neither of those gave enormous benefits to the world. And they killed people, not just put them through unpleasant working conditions. Completely noncomparable.
One can argue he had quite similar result in mind to the proposed electric-vechicle-enabling indentured servitude.
I don't think it would be excusable even if he avoided killing people while defaulting to raping and beating the crap out of them.
I'm not defending Tesla's behavior. I'm just pointing out that it's not inherently contradictory.
By adding the "if necessary" bit you turned it into a trolley problem which misses the point entirely.
-- Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn.
Which position would you take in the line of people to be sacrificed? How much sacrifice are you willing to put up with? Not other people, just you.
I don't think it's necessary in this case, as I think my original comment made quite clear. There just isn't an inherent contradiction between these two things.
Shit must be real bad over there if they are attempting to unionize, if you notice the only places that still have a union in the US in spite of union busting are where the employer has made it an absolute living nightmare to work, hence the union to back the workers up.
I'd never want to do any of those jobs, all three of them have positively awful working conditions, with the last usually resulting in lifelong mental damage from repeated jarring of the head (in addition to injuries), and most school districts & airlines push their teachers and pilots to the edge of the law, whether it be student load (and putting special needs students in classes with overloaded teachers illegally), or leaning on pilots to fly with the absolute minimum fuel they can get by with, despite regulations.
> leaning on pilots to fly with the absolute minimum fuel they can get by with, despite regulations
You mean, asking pilots to use the minimum amount of fuel that is safe. Do you have any evidence that a major airline has ever pressured pilots to use less fuel than the (generous) regulated minimum?
Each of those factors alone can make for a bad work environment, combined it is a living nightmare. Plus the pay is very low, so its not as though you are able to afford much.
If Tesla's management really believes they are changing the world and having a non-negligible impact, then they might easily justify to themselves that while they aren't the most benevolent of employers, they make up for it with what they do. The problem is that a) people may not even agree their goal is beneficial, or b) accepting the prior as true may not agree the degree to which their actions are beneficial in the end, or c) accepting both the prior as true may not care because those actions may disproportionately affect the person in question.
In any case, I don't think it's as simple as you make it out to be.
"If a tree falls in a forest"
This is not directed at you personally, but the view that humans are all that matters is a kind of species narcissism. In fact, we derive all sorts of benefits from other species, such that if all of them were to disappear, so would we.
We gain a ton of benefits from other animals, obviously. But if we don't exist, then those animals no longer matter. We wouldn't benefit from them anymore. Anyway, this is getting a bit in the weeds.
Forget about competing with China. We can raise the standard of living here for our workers. Union bosses have a seat at the board room table in Germany, why can't we do that here? Unionization (democracy in the workplace) is not just a right, it's an essential need. And it stems from the capitalistic fallacy: "You (the worker/producer) do not control the wages." And it shows in the devastatingly large surplus value that's caused crash after crash and recession after depression and the crippling wealth gap between rich and poor.
From what I heard, they are sitting so often together at the "board room table", that you can't really seperate them from the ordinary bosses ...
I'm not against unions, but I think mandating them is a bad idea. Smells like a recipe for disaster. What if everyone's totally OK with their workplace? Government would be requiring an external (perhaps redundant) bureaucracy (with all its waste and inefficiency), supported from a cut of everyone's paycheck, regardless of whether people wanted it or not.
American workers should realize that they are competing with Chinese workers who will give life and limb to work in the environment that Tesla is providing them. They should either compete or let the Chinese do the work for 1/10th of the cost instead of whining about not getting diet soda in vending machines.
And the Vietnamese worker should feel lucky his job isn't shipped to Bangladesh!...
And the Bangladeshi adult worker should feel lucky his job isn't given to Bangladeshi 9-year-olds!...
Seriously, you are right that if wages go too high and it's convenient for the company, they will take production elsewhere. That's not an argument for workers shutting up and taking scraps; it's an argument for a global minimum wage.
They are realizing this - which is why they elected Donald Trump and his protectionist rhetoric.
> They should either compete or let the Chinese do the work for 1/10th of the cost instead of whining about not getting diet soda in vending machines.
"Let them eat cake."
People are working forced overtime and cannot afford to pay for their housing. Critics like you are just polluting the discourse with these type of dismissive phrases.
This is not an effective way to advocate your point of view.
Update: Page 4 as of a few minutes ago: http://imgur.com/a/M6XuC
It will be interesting to see if any tech news sites pick up on this story at all. It seems like anything to do with labour/unions gets ignored.
Edit: Now page 6: http://imgur.com/3CAfOnT. (Look at the points/times of the stories above and below it...)
That said, there's no excuse for treating employees poorly, even if they're "temporary"...whether it's Tesla, Apple, or Amazon.
definitely at the expense of their jobs. capital/owners get to keep all the earnings, the workers get nothing. this is why it's important for workers to be part of co-operatives or to have profit-sharing or more equity or shares.
Not to mention, many car companies _mainly_ build their luxury and more expensive models in the US. Perhaps the calculus is Tesla has to bank on it's next to get motivated workers and push them to make their production goals.
I mean, if I didn't have a fun programming career I might be tempted to help them build cars since working with my hands sounds fun, and so does being a part of Tesla.
That being said, does it make it fair? Is it exploitation if the claims are true? Course it isn't fair. I think the best case is Tesla makes a boat load of money selling model 3's and is able to invest in paying it's workforce well, which feels like a pretty crumby thing to hope for since I care a lot about workers rights :/
They might want to rethink the wisdom of that comment: that's a great argument to move the plant to Tennessee. Or Nevada.
His main complain is mandatory overtime, bad production flow, dangerous working conditions, frequent injuries, and management refuses to listen to feedback. In short, it's a dangerous irresponsible sweatshop from the 19th century.
Will moving the plant to Tennessee or Nevada help because you believe there are no federal labor regulations or safety considerations in those states?
I live in Fremont. The Tesla plant is our #1 employer and I'd really like to keep it. I'm suggesting that the employee stick to arguments that makes sense to everyone (work causing physical harm) and which are in Tesla's interest to fix. Keep away from arguments which are little more than "you should move away."
I remember the GM plant closing. I don't want to see a repeat.
You'd like to keep the factory in your town. But you don't care the workers are being abused and working in unsafe conditions. Why is that specifically that you feel this way? That you would want your friends and neighbors to be treated abusively and subjected to needlessly dangerous conditions? I really don't see why someone as a resident of Fremont who has absolutely no other connection to Fremont or this factory would adopt such a position. Please enlighten me.
The point is that by removing the flawed argument, and keeping the legitimate arguments, the overall message becomes stronger.
Your accusation "But you don't care the workers are being abused and working in unsafe conditions." is inventing and attacking something that cjensen never said or implied.
I think you missed the part where the parent wrote:
> I'm suggesting that the employee stick to arguments that makes sense to everyone (work causing physical harm) and which are in Tesla's interest to fix.
Either that, or you're not here for an honest exchange of ideas.
Not only that but you're misunderstanding cjensen's comments, which were suggesting that the complainant stick to the poor working conditions as the basis of their complaint. Your response challenging that they should have more concern for the poor working conditions doesn't make any sense.
If that's true, it's outrageous.
"Last month, five members of the Assembly wrote a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk referring to the confidentiality pledge and expressing concerns that the breadth of the agreement “impermissibly violates protected employee activity under state and federal law, including the right to communicate to each other and the public about wages, working conditions and other issues.” The members asked Tesla to revise the policy."
Organizing is so easy and transparent with technology. You do not have to use old-fashioned politically motivated words like "workers union"
That's not necessarily the case. Managers often get bonuses for achieving goals that are only possible by treating workers poorly.
Until there is negative reinforcement for that (union walkout), there's not much motivation to change things.
This lack of trust in "management" and politicizing working to a damaging extent might be the biggest reasons why manufacturing will never come back to America.
But that's harping on the past. No, I'm talking about my own personal experience as a software engineer.
I've seen managers get big bonuses for denying their workers vacation time. I've seen employees get "disciplined and fired" for minor infractions, that I'm certain had NOTHING to do with their medical conditions that were driving up the costs of the company's medical plan (that would be illegal!)
And more, I don't even NEED the evidence I've presented. I'm drawing the cost-benefit analysis in raw terms. And I'm saying SOME managers play that analysis in ways that hurt workers, and think those costs (of hurting employees, employee morale, reputation of the company) will be short-term, and are worth the short-term benefits.
This blind faith that managers will always do right by their employees ignores the facts. Some managers don't. And workers need to protect themselves from those few who are dangerously abusive.
Makes me wonder where this will lead for the workers.
Well worth to listen a couple of minutes to a short history lesson regarding this place https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/403/...
Yes workers should be able to unionize for their own benefit but at the same time what Tesla is doing is much bigger than the individual. The company is at a crucial moment, they're about to scale up for their first consumer priced car.
This is the first time I've ever heard of discontent from Tesla factory workers. It seems very calculated, but at the same time I have no knowledge of working conditions.
But this comment. The one I'm responding to. It's the first time I've seen someone talk about Tesla and thought "WTF? This person can't be serious."
It's okay to think it's "important". I think Tesla is pretty darn neat. Asking others to quietly sacrifice their health for that thing? While being uninvolved yourself? That, I can't wrap my head around.
I stated that I'm conflicted and seeing both sides.
I stated ambivalent feelings and questioned the timing while admitting my own nativity about true conditions.
You're literally arguing with someone who agrees with you on the internet. Take a breath and consider that.
Union organization is very calculated. It has to be because union opposition is also very calculated, especially when it's done lawfully. It's calculated because there are very specific protocols that have to be followed that may or may not be enforced by laws with sharp teeth (depending on the state). This makes it very sensitive. Also, public relations is a significant part of the playing field. The company and the union are trying to use it to both bolster and gauge support.
With all that said, I wish the best for both parties in coming to an agreement where workers can safely and efficiently build cars that will eventually replace most gas powered cars with all its moving parts with EV cars with minimal moving parts.
I don't think you really believe that - if you truly internalized this, then isn't the conclusion that you should go find any way possible to contribute to them as well?
Maybe I just bought into their rhetoric, maybe. But I believe that the company's vision is more directed at sustainable transportation rather than profit.
They have worked really hard and brought in a lot of investment working towards an electric car. If Musk was truly profit driven he could have made a lot more money, a lot faster by directing his energy elsewhere.
If you really believe in them you should work 12 hour shifts in one of their factories, making the dream happen and saving the planet.
Sorry not sorry
Everyone has limited resources. What you chose to contribute to and your level of contribution will vary. For example, commitments to one's family may preclude contributing to Tesla beyond reserving a Model 3 untenable. This is independent of one's belief in the impact of what Tesla is doing.
I did not make that argument whatsoever. You made that up.
Isn't this essentially the same line used by startups to lowball recent grads? It seems to me this board would know better.
I realize I've probably chugged the kool-aid at this point but I can't fathom why Musk would work so hard towards this goal and not be thinking about the big picture.
Personally, I'm rooting for them. But they only get to play altruist if they make it pay for the investors.
How so? What is it that they're doing that is so special, beyond what Ford, GM, Toyota, Fiat, VW Group and a multitude of others are doing? They're building electric cars. All of them. Why do people think Tesla deserves "special snowflake" status?
It seems like GM is leading the way to me, while Tesla has been dragging its feet and making luxury cars. But I guess GM is not sexy enough for 20 somethings.
The Bolt is a rush to market toy car. You're right they beat Tesla to the market with an affordable car, but no one wants it because it's tiny and GM has built a terrible reputation for itself. Sales numbers reflect this.
For most people a car is a significant purchase and value plays a large role in this purchase.
Man, the hype about that company truly has reached unreal proportions right now.
I don't see why this wouldn't be an actual Tesla employee (I'm open to theories), and assuming it is because this is the sort of thing an employee would do while consulting with the UAW.
Then the robots will form a union.
I agree that people should have the right to band together in an organized way to increase negotiating power. What I have a problem with is when joining the union and paying dues becomes expected or even mandatory.
When I was in college, I worked a summer for a high-end grocery store as a part-time bagger. Nearly every day the assistant manager (the local union representative) would accost me to join the union and to pay union dues. As a part-time and temporary employee this made absolutely no sense for my situation and would only serve to modestly increase the bargaining power and coffers of the union.
In other situations paying dues to the union becomes mandatory under the legal concept of "fair share fees" where non-union members are required to pay into the bargaining costs of the union.
> If a majority of the public employees at a given site vote to be represented by a union, that union becomes the exclusive bargaining agent for the workers. In California, some 325,000 teachers in more than 1,000 school districts are represented by the California Teachers Association and, to a lesser extent, the California Federation of Teachers.
> Of those, 9 percent have not joined the union, but under California law, any union contract must cover them too, and so they are required to pay an amount that covers the costs of negotiating the contract and administering it. The idea is that they reap the bread-and-butter benefits covered by the contract — wages, leave policies, grievance procedures, etc. — so they should bear some of the cost of negotiating that contract.
Good point - I realize that including my own experience muddied the waters of my argument a bit.
I mentioned my experience to highlight that aside from the situation where an employee is legally required to pay fees to a union there are other ways that a union can apply undo pressure onto an employee who does not want to join. In my case, it became clear that membership in the union was expected and not just suggested.
> Are you saying the teachers in California should be able to benefit from the union without paying any dues?
The "benefit" that non-union members receive from the bargaining of the union only applies as the established agreements extend to all employees (both union and non-union).
I'm saying that non-union employees should not be included in outcome of union negotiations. Non-union employees are by definition not represented by the union - they've opted not to participate as part of the collective bargaining group and should not be forced to pay into or support the negotiations of the bargaining group.
> How do you expect a union to continue to exist in that circumstance?
A union would be able to continue to exist as long as there is enough benefit of membership that it can continue to recruit and retain dues-paying members.
In this example why would the corporation hire/retain any union member? The union would cease to exist if this were allowed.
From the worker's point of view, the continued viability of the union is "not my problem".
Maybe I can dip into your paycheck? Perhaps I should give a cut to your governor, ensuring I get some enforcement. Not that you wouldn't love to pay me of course, but you might forget. Actually, let's just take it out of your paycheck. I need a new car.
Seriously, I think we as a species should be more considerate with the ways we treat each other. If we're lucky, the machines will learn that from us.
If a super intelligent AI came to life today, it might learn one too many lessons about employers cutting human costs, media companies disparaging the unemployed as lazy layabouts that deserve nothing, and the always-too-easy-to-manipulate human psyche.
And then we humans would have to reckon with a machine that excels at the worst traits of people that our society deems necessary to have to shower with money and power.
note: irregardless is not a word, it is just regardless
Actual title: Time for Tesla to Listen
"Counterargument is contradiction plus reasoning and/or evidence. When aimed squarely at the original argument, it can be convincing."
Just sayin'. ;-)