Hundreds of SpaceX Employees Signed Letter Denouncing Elon Musk’s Behavior

Hundreds of SpaceX Employees Signed Letter Denouncing Elon Musk’s Behavior

Hundreds of SpaceX Employees Signed Letter Denouncing Elon Musk’s Behavior

It took less than a day and a half for more than 400 SpaceX employees to sign an open letter criticizing CEO Elon Musk after it was posted and shared by some of their colleagues in an internal chat. Just 32 hours after it was shared, the internal landing page for the document was taken offline, around the same time that a group of employees were fired for their involvement in drafting and sharing the letter, a move that may have violated the labor law. .

The open letter first went live on an internal landing page at noon Eastern, then was shared by a handful of employees across about 10 chat rooms in Microsoft Teams, as well as one email list. The content was bold: The employees claimed Musk’s behavior had become a source of embarrassment and distraction to the company in recent weeks. The letter writers offered suggestions for ways SpaceX could distance itself from Musk’s Twitter presence and do better at holding executives and those who commit sexual harassment to account.

An employee who helped draft the letter, but wished to remain anonymous, claimed that “a large number of employees across a range of demographics, roles and levels helped write the letter.” Employees were given the option to log in to the document by completing a survey or scanning a QR code.

The largest Teams channel where the document was shared had about 2,600 members, mostly filled with technicians, while the other Teams channels were relatively small. The writers also had plans to distribute a stack of physical copies of the letter, which also contained QR codes for people to scan, around manufacturing and food service areas. But no one was brave enough to hand them out before the shelling started, according to one of those involved. There were also concerns that posting copies of the letter would be seen as unionizing and that cameras in the SpaceX building would reveal who was distributing them. Before the landing page shutdown, the writers saw that they got about 3,000 unique visitors to their site.

Although the document eventually got 404 signatures, many more people reached out to those who shared the letter on Signal, in person and through Teams, saying they would sign if they could afford to be fired at this point, according to one person involved. . In 2017, another Musk company, Tesla, fired an employee for distributing pamphlets encouraging employees to join a union. Additionally, in May of this year, Musk also tweeted that Tesla would establish a “hardcore litigation department” to “start and conduct lawsuits directly.”

Their fears proved believable, as at least SpaceX’s management ended up firing five employees for their involvement in the letter. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell then emailed the company, denouncing the document and informing the company of the terminations.

“We have too much critical work to do and don’t need this kind of over the top activism – our current leadership team is more committed to making sure we have a great and consistently better work environment than I’ve ever seen in my 35-year career,” wrote Shotwell, echoing the letter writers’ claim that the letter, not Musk’s conduct, was a source of distraction for SpaceX, which has a busy schedule for the next few days and weeks.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment from The edge in time for publication.

Shotwell also argued in her email that other employees not involved in the letter had been uncomfortable, intimidated and pressured to sign the document. Two of those involved in its writing, speaking on condition of anonymity, dispute that claim. They say they just posted the letter on the Teams channels, pointed it out to people and asked for support.

“Nobody was pressured to collect signatures,” said an employee who helped draft the letter, who also wished to remain anonymous. “The open letter stands on its own or it doesn’t.”

News of the layoffs has spread throughout the company and a few current employees have indicated that… The edge their dismay at the company’s actions.

“I feel like people who don’t agree 100% with Elon should shut up or leave the company, which is very sad,” said a SpaceX employee, who was not involved in the letter. The edge† “We all admire his intelligence, but his social behavior is unacceptable, and we are in a position where we are both proud and ashamed to work for SpaceX.”