Elon Musk's Tesla and SpaceX joined corporations across the U.S. in recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and fighting racial injustice. While many companies made Juneteenth a paid holiday, Tesla and SpaceX went in the other direction. Employees who chose to take the day off had to use a paid-time-off day, which angered Twitter users and Tesla employees.
Some employees were already at work when Tesla sent out an email about Juneteenth at 8:18 a.m. Friday morning reports BuzzFeed News. The email, written by Valerie Workman, the head of Tesla's North American human resources, told employees the company "fully supports Juneteenth for any U.S. employee that wants to take the day off to celebrate, reflect or participate in events that are meaningful to you." In the end, Workman noted, "This is an unpaid PTO and excused absence." Employees who spoke with BuzzFeed called the first email "pointless."
Musk shared the news on Twitter as well. "Juneteenth is henceforth considered a US holiday at Tesla & SpaceX," he wrote. One Twitter user praised Musk for providing Juneteenth as a "paid holiday," but Musk clarified that this was not the case. "It does require use of a paid-time-off day, which is true of many other holidays," he said.
“Unpaid PTO” is some 1984 doublespeak— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) June 19, 2020
Sources told BuzzFeed News the messages on Juneteenth were "performative." For example, Tesla's factory in Fremont, California was still fully operational Friday. Workers were told they could leave, but they would have to use a vacation day or PTO day to be paid for the day. The only real difference was employees would not be penalized if they did not work, sources said. Employees can be fired if they have enough penalities.prevnext
What the fuck man just give your employees a paid holiday without making them spend their hard earned PTO - lol don’t act like you’re cool and make an announcement and everything just for clout but zero actual support for the people who make your money for you— caroline 🌱 🧢 (@revolutionariii) June 19, 2020
The Fremont factory is the only non-union car factory in the country. It has been open since May after Musk, a coronavirus skeptic, ignored Alameda County's shelter-in-place order. Musk sued the county, which later allowed Tesla to make cars while other businesses were still closed. Factor workers previously told BuzzFeed the company did impose social distancing policies and asked employees to wear masks, but the policies were not enforced.prevnext
Well then make everyday a holiday!
And name yourself emperor of Mars while you’re at empty gestures...— Inglorious Bat Turds 🕙 (@BatTurds) June 19, 2020
Juneteenth began in 1866, a year after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in Texas. The state was the last Confederate state where slaves were emancipated. Although slavery was not completely abolished until the 13th Amendment was ratified in December 1865, Juneteenth was embraced as a day to celebrate emancipation.prevnext
Do you pay employees for 4th of July? If so you should pay for Juneteenth. Set the trend for other companies to follow @elonmusk— Andrew Walberg (@andrewwalberg) June 19, 2020
So what you're saying is that it's not a paid holiday.— Samwise 👨🏻🏫 🌟 🌟 ↙️↙️↙️ (@SamSmash74) June 19, 2020