Tesla's stock is soaring and Elon Musk's wealth continues to grow, yet his company's salespeople are petitioning for a salary increase that gets them closer to a "living wage."
This week, Tesla salesperson Dare Brewer sent out a request to every North American Tesla employee asking them to support salespeople in a petition to increase their pay. The e-mail, which was obtained by CNBC, says Tesla cut the pay for salespeople last year, and they're now seeking a 15% increase in base pay to help them "make ends meet."
"I love the idea of working together in a more group oriented practice but with this change came a very slight increase in base pay and a devastating decrease in commission," Brewer wrote. "We rely heavily on this to make ends meet."
Brewer explains in the e-mail to colleagues that salespeople are being asked to do more and earn less. And while they're ready and willing to do what it takes to help Tesla, they need to make more money.
The petition has been published on a site called Coworker.org and currently has 357 signatures out of a desired 400. Brewer had hoped to send an e-mail with all of the names of those who signed the petition, but told CNBC that Tesla's human resources department said such a move would violate the company's "improper solicitations or distributions" policy.
According to Brewer and other employees CNBC spoke to, Tesla salespeople make between $17 and $33 an hour across the U.S. In the second half of 2019, Tesla cut bonuses for salespeople in some cases, and reduced commissions, according to the report. Worse yet, some salespeople were waiting on stock options that had been delayed. That means they missed out on a recent surge to Tesla's stock price.
Not surprisingly, all of that has angered Tesla's salespeople, prompting the petition. But exactly what the petition might do for Tesla and its workers remains to be seen.
So far, Tesla hasn't commented publicly on the matter, and there's no telling when, or even if, the company will take action. The petition signed by current and former Tesla employees also makes no mention of what they should expect if the signatures reach the 400-person milestone.
"We love Tesla and our teammates," Brewer wrote in the petition. "Even though it is hard to fight for ourselves let's do our best to fight for each other. Tesla will be great and make a real change in this world but only if we hold it to what is right."