UAW confirms workers at Tesla have approached the union

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FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo hangs on a building outside of a Tesla dealership in New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo (Copyright Reuters 2017)

The United Automobile Workers union on Friday said it has been approached by workers at Tesla Inc's Fremont, California assembly plant, and rejected Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk's charge that a worker who publicly criticized the company was on the UAW payroll.

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The worker, Jose Moran, "is not and has not been paid by the UAW," the union said, responding to comments Musk made to the website Gizmodo. Musk told Gizmodo "our understanding is that this guy was paid by the UAW to join Tesla and agitate for a union. He doesn���t really work for us, he works for the UAW."

A representative for Moran said he was at work at Tesla on Friday morning.

The volley between Musk and the UAW comes as Tesla is planning to idle for a week the Fremont factory where it builds its current Model S sedans and Model X sport utilities to prepare for production of the high-volume Model 3 sedan.

(Reporting by Joseph White Editing by W Simon)