Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, violated federal labor legal guidelines when it tried to hamper union organizing at its Fremont manufacturing facility, a federal administrative legislation choose in California dominated on Friday.
Among different issues, Tesla safety guards repeatedly ordered union organizers to cease leafletting in Tesla’s parking heaps and fired one union organizer for allegedly mendacity throughout an organization investigation. Elon Musk was additionally dinged for a tweet that advised workers would not obtain inventory choices in the event that they voted to type a union.
For years, Tesla workers affiliated with the United Auto Workers have been attempting to persuade their fellow Tesla staff to type a union. UAW members in Tesla’s workforce have worn union T-shirts, hats, and pins to work. They have additionally handed out flyers selling the union within the parking heaps round Tesla’s Fremont manufacturing facility.
Federal labor legislation shields staff from strain by employers as they have interaction in this type of exercise. Employees have a proper to solicit union membership on firm property throughout their off hours, and the corporate is not allowed to retaliate in opposition to workers who train these rights. Employers additionally aren’t allowed to supply workers advantages, or threaten them with harms, both individually or collectively, to affect their organizing resolution.
But union members say Tesla blatantly violated these legal guidelines—and on Friday, Amita Baman Tracy, an administrative legislation choose in California, agreed.
Tesla violated the legislation a number of instances, choose guidelines
On two days in early 2017, union members handed out leaflets in Tesla’s car parking zone. Tesla safety guards repeatedly got here out to the car parking zone and questioned the employees. They verified that the employees had been Tesla workers, then ordered them to depart the property anyway.
The staff stood their floor, declaring that they’d a authorized proper to be there and refusing to depart. The guards by no means truly escorted them off the property. But the employees argued that the guards’ repeated harassment violated federal labor legislation. On Friday, the choose agreed.
In one other incident, a union-affiliated employee, Jose Moran, accessed Workday, Tesla’s inside HR system, to search for details about an worker who opposed the union. Moran took a screenshot of the opposite employee’s Workday web page—which included his title, photograph, job title, and different data—and texted it to a different union-affiliated worker, Richard Ortiz. Ortiz wound up utilizing the anti-union worker’s image in a submit on a personal Facebook group for pro-union Tesla workers.
Tesla discovered concerning the Facebook submit and commenced investigating. It grilled Ortiz about how he had gotten the knowledge, and Ortiz mentioned he wasn’t certain who despatched it to him. Tesla then checked out entry logs and discovered that Moran had taken the screenshots. It fired Ortiz for allegedly mendacity about who had despatched the picture and gave Moran a warning for misuse of Workday.
The choose dominated that Ortiz’s firing was unlawful. “An employer may not terminate an employee for lying in response to questions regarding” union organizing, the choose wrote. The choose additionally famous that Tesla didn’t appear to have standing guidelines in opposition to looking workers’ profiles on Workday or screenshotting them, suggesting that Moran was singled out primarily based on his pro-union efforts. The choose ordered that Ortiz be re-instated with again pay and that the disciplinary motion in opposition to Moran be scrubbed from his report.
In one other incident thought of by the choose, Elon Musk tweeted concerning the union organizing drive.
“Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union,” Musk wrote. “Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing?”
The choose concluded that this, too, was a violation of labor legislation, since Musk is basically threatening to cease providing workers inventory choices in the event that they vote to hitch a union. That, the choose dominated, was an unlawful try and sway staff towards an anti-union stance.
Among the treatments ordered by the choose, Tesla is required to submit a discover informing staff of their rights—together with the suitable to advertise the union on firm property. Musk shall be required to be within the room as administration reads the discover out loud to workers at Tesla’s Fremont manufacturing facility.
The case is not over. We can anticipate Tesla to attraction the ruling to the National Labor Relations Board primarily based in Washington.
Tesla has not responded to a Friday electronic mail looking for remark concerning the case.