Slave Labor

I suspect that this exposé by Louis Hansen in the San Jose Mercury-News will surprise practically no one:

When Gregor Lesnik left his pregnant girlfriend in Slovenia for a job in America, his visa application described specialized skills and said he was a supervisor headed to a South Carolina auto plant.

Turns out, that wasn’t true.

The unemployed electrician had no qualifications to oversee American workers and spoke only a sentence or two of English. He never set foot in South Carolina. The companies that arranged his questionable visa instead sent Lesnik to a menial job in Silicon Valley. He earned the equivalent of $5 an hour to expand the plant for one of the world’s most sophisticated companies, Tesla Motors.

Lesnik’s three-month tenure ended a year ago in a serious injury and a lawsuit that has exposed a troubling practice in the auto industry. Overseas contractors are shipping workers from impoverished countries to American factories, where they work long hours for low wages, in apparent violation of visa and labor laws.

Let’s be very clear about this: the “specialized skill” that Mr. Lesnik possessed was the willingness to work for slave wages under what may have been unsafe working conditions. My suggestion? They should take Elon Musk out, break both of his legs and some of his ribs, tear the ligaments in his knee, and give him a concussion, which are the injuries that Mr. Lesnik suffered.

In a more serious vein, the enforcement of the bans on such hiring practices is too lax and the penalties are far too light.

Unanswered in the article: what was Tesla paying the middleman for this worker and why didn’t it figure out what was going on?

Is it any wonder that Donald Trump is making hay with the immigration issue? Multiply this story hundreds of thousands of times over and you begin to see the problem’s scope.

33 comments… add one
  • ...

    My suggestion? They should take Elon Musk out, break both of his legs and some of his ribs, tear the ligaments in his knee, and give him a concussion, which is the injury that Mr. Lesnik suffered.

    Right out of Heinlein’s Beulah Land!

    (From the novel Number of the Beast.)

  • ...

    The amazing thing was seeing the raft of stories about how Trump beat all comers (after Cruz and Kasich dropped out), and a great many of them didn’t mention immigration at all. The story being promulgated by the media is that people are voting for Trump for … bluster? Anger? Stupidity?

    Now, voting for Hillary because there’s never been a women President, or because it’s the only way to insure men can use women’s restrooms, or so that we can get more ambassadors ass-raped to death by hordes of towel-headed camel fuckers, THAT, on the other hand, is calm, considered moral reasoning.

    I saw a quote by Greg Cochran today that sums up the nation’s problem most succinctly.

    Sure, we have an intractably low-functioning underclass – two of them now! – but we also have a crazy overclass, and that’s worse. We have a problem.

  • ...

    How many federal subsidies did Elon Musk get in order to build his dream cars with slave labor?

    The only thing this story is missing is a transsexual in the bathroom.

  • All told Musk’s companies have received about $5 billion in federal support.

  • PD Shaw

    Tesla’s explanation: “Gregor Lesnik was brought to the Tesla factory by a company called ISM Vuzem, a sub-contractor brought in by Eisenmann, the firm that we hired to construct our new, high-volume paint shop. We contracted with Eisenmann for the simple reason that we do not know how to build paint shops and they are regarded as one of the best, if not the best, in the world. In our dealings with them, we have found them to be an excellent company, run by good people.”

    https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/response-mercury-news-article-hidden-workforce-expanding-teslas-factory

  • ...

    “In our dealings with them, we have found them to be an excellent company, run by good people.”

    No doubt an opinion further confirmed by the fact that they were using slave labor.

  • PD Shaw

    This kind of meshes with this article I read today arguing that the source of rising inequality has been the hollowing out of the large employers by outsourcing to contractors.

    http://glineq.blogspot.com/2016/05/why-make-america-denmark-again-will-not.html

  • ...

    I wish the government would give me $5 billion.

  • walt moffett

    Bu… Bu.. buts, its Telsa, green cars, overthrowing Big Carbon, etc. Surely, someone did not put increasing share value over all other concerns.

    And as always the Telsa spin machine is at full cycle I notice here and there. How long before Lesnik becomes a greedy grifter?

  • PD Shaw

    Ellipses, well technically it appears the subcontractor did the hiring, but I look forward to hearing the contractor saying that they looked the subcontractor in the eye, and was able to get a sense of its soul.

  • Two words: due diligence.

  • ...

    “I look forward to hearing the contractor saying that they looked the subcontractor in the eye, and was able to get a sense of its soul.”

    LOL

    All those layers of employers are designed solely for plausible legal deniability.

  • ...

    “Two words: due diligence.”

    “You’re joking,” he scoffed.

  • My point was that to escape liability it’s not enough to say “Well, their sales brochures sure looked legit.”

  • ...

    Seriously, do you really think it possible that a pro-open-borders, pro-slave-labor government will look too closely at one of its friends to whom it has given billions of dollars? I don’t believe things like that happen in Putin’s Russia or in Xi’s China (accept as a way of getting rid of no longer favored cronies), and I certainly don’t believe it will happen in Obama’s America.

    To satisfy legal niceties, someone may get a slap on the wrist, like the tech giants that were colluding against their employees a few years ago, and then it will be back to business as usual.

  • ...

    EXCEPT, EXCEPT.

    Sigh. Don’t type angry….

  • PD Shaw

    Tesla’s response also claims that they’ve been vindicated by California OSHA regulators and a judge that dismissed a worker’s compensation lawsuit against Tesla, but fails to mention that there is a civil lawsuit which has been allowed to go forward against Tesla after initially being dismissed. In other words, litigation has been going on for at least a few months already, and a viable legal theory has been presented against Tesla (though I cannot tell exactly what it is).

    How credible is it for Elon Musk to just hear that Tesla has been accused of participating in the hiring of 140 foreigners under tourist visas, who were paid less than minimum wage?

  • ...

    How credible is it for Elon Musk to just hear that Tesla has been accused of participating in the hiring of 140 foreigners under tourist visas, who were paid less than minimum wage?

    Very credible. I’m sure his attorneys saw to that before the first VISAs were issued.

  • Gray Shambler

    Questions:

    Why was this not on the C B S evening news?

    Why is Obama still popular?

    Why is Drag Queens’ right to use women’s’ bathrooms an issue of dignity while slave labor is not.

    What do I tell my grandson about which bathroom to use?

  • ...

    Tell your grandson to use the women’s bathroom, or he’ll be called Hatey McFagbasher and the President himself will go on national tv to declare him worse than Hitler.

  • ...

    Actually, the safest thing to do would be to have his penis & testicles removed now, just to be sure.

  • PD Shaw

    @I’ve recently taken up inter-generational consulting, and here is a little taste of the wisdom that I will be throwing:

    Millennials love a workplace with a high number of bathrooms, ideally they want to keep it 100 at all times. Literally.

    Being a slave is a life-choice, and neither you nor I have a right to judge; what is important is whether Mr. Lesnik has access to a charging station.

    Some truths are timeless, and your grandson should be told to go to the bathroom before he leaves the house, every time. It’s a strange world out there, amirite?

  • PD Shaw

    Argh, that was supposed to be directed to Gray Shambler.

  • Andy

    “Being a slave is a life-choice, and neither you nor I have a right to judge; what is important is whether Mr. Lesnik has access to a charging station.”

    Wow, that is perfect!

  • gray shambler

    I asked my grandson which bathroom he used at school, and without hesitation, he said ,boys and went on to the next thing. Maybe when Obama lofts into history, this whole thing will blow over

  • Lee

    Why do I think the Bay Area Progressives will only get upset that not enough Slovenians are being imported into the US, and put on welfare, if not paid $15 per hour?

    I don’t think they give a rat’s tuchas over the issue of the visa violations, and the fact that there are actual American citizens who can do the work at the prevailing legal wage and legal hours.

    (I do wonder how many of the jobs that the current administration has “created” are THESE types of jobs…)

Leave a Comment