The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled today that Tesla has violated labor laws by firing an employee over what they claim was union support and because of a questionable tweet that Elon Musk posted.
A few years ago, Tesla was embroiled in an effort by United Auto Workers (UAW) to unionize the Fremont factory.
Some employees alleged that Tesla embarked in some anti-union efforts that are illegal.
A case was eventually picked up by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over claims that Tesla discharged employees over the unionization actions and engaged in illegal “coercive actions.”
The investigation has been years in the making, but the NLRB released today its ruling and it found that Tesla violated US labor laws.
However, the agency doesn’t have any authority to impose punitive damages on Tesla or executives.
Here is a summary of the practices that the NLRB deemed anti-union:
Having found that Respondent has engaged in certain unfair labor practices, I shall order it to cease and desist therefrom and to take certain affirmative action designed to effectuate the policies of the Act. Having found that Respondent has violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by maintaining and enforcing a rule o February 10 and May 24, 2017, that, in the absence of legitimate business reasons, prohibits off-duty employees from distributing union literature in the employees’ parking lot, I shall order that Respondent rescind the rule. Having found that Respondent has violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by promulgating a rule on March 23, 2017, prohibiting employees from distributing union stickers, leaflets, and pamphlets without first obtaining permission, and threatening discipline if failing to do so, I shall order that Respondent rescind the rule. Having found that Respondent has maintained and enforced a rule in August 2017 prohibiting employees from wearing union insignia showing support for the Union or any other labor organization, I shall order that Respondent rescind the rule. Having found that Respondent has violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by promulgating a rule in October 2017, regarding Workday in response to protected concerted activity, I shall order that Respondent rescind the rule.
They also found that Tesla unfairly treated employees who engaged in supporting a unionization effort at the Fremont factory:
“Respondent, having discriminatorily disciplined Jose Moran, must rescind the disciplinary action and remove all references from his personnel files. Respondent, having discriminatorily terminated Richard Ortiz, must offer him reinstatement and make him whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits.Backpay shall be computed in accordance with F. W. Woolworth Co., 90 NLRB 289 (1950), with interest at the rate prescribed in New Horizons, 283 NLRB 1173 (1987), compounded daily as prescribed in Kentucky River Medical Center, 356 NLRB 6 (2010). In accordance with King Soopers, Inc., 364 NLRB No.93 (2016), Respondent shall compensate Richard Ortiz for his search-for-work and interim employment expenses regardless of whether those expenses exceed interim earnings, and such expenses shall be calculated separately from taxable net backpay, with interest at the rate prescribed in New Horizons, supra, compounded daily as prescribed in Kentucky River Medical Center, supra.”
Tesla no longer has a press relations department to comment on the ruling, but it did when the allegations were first brought up and believed that the claims were “without merit.”
On top of making it right with the employees who were fired, the NLRB wants Tesla to have Elon Musk delete a tweet in which he alluded that employees who unionize could lose access to stock options.
Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018
The NLRB wants Tesla to post a lengthy notice to employees about the ruling:
You can read the entire decision from the administrative judge here with a detailed look at all the evidence:
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