Electric Powered Cars
This past Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Tesla, Inc. The Palo Alto company is best known for manufacturing high-end electric powered cars.
The complaint alleges that the Nasdaq traded company violated its worker’s rights by “discouraging” workers from sharing and distributing pro-union information as well as preventing them from speaking to the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) about employee safety. Stating that on numerous occasions Tesla security guards and human resources agents told factory employees that they had to leave the premises because they were distribution pro-union flyers.
Furthermore, Tesla employees claim that during a pre-shift meeting, a supervisor told them that they were prohibited from distributing pamphlets and other material not pre-approved by Tesla, and that if they did they would be fired. Employees also complained about “interrogations” from human resources officers about their union activities and the activities of their fellow workers.
United Auto Workers Union
The controversy over working conditions at Tesla came to light in February when Tesla employee, Jose Moran, posted an article on Medium.com complaining about working conditions, mandatory overtime, and low wages at the Fremont, CA plant. In the article Mr. Moran stated, “most of my 5,000-plus coworkers work well over 40 hours a week, including excessive mandatory overtime. The hard, manual labor we put in to make Tesla successful is done at great risk to our bodies.”
Tesla allegedly made employees sign a confidentiality agreement, which bars them from talking about safety and working conditions at their factories.
Tesla claims that the allegations of the complaint are unfounded and without merit. In a statement they wrote, “these allegations, which have been filed by the same contingent of union organizers who have been so outspoken with media, are entirely without merit.”
Further expressing their displeasure with the UAW, a Tesla spokesperson wrote, “as we approach Labor Day weekend, there’s a certain irony in just how far the UAW has strayed from the original mission of the American labor movement, which once advocated so nobly for the rights of workers and is the reason we recognize this important holiday.”
The National Labor Relations Board typically receives 20 to 30 thousand complaints per year from employees and workers covering a very broad range of issues. Under the law, the NLRB cannot assess penalties, instead they seek to implement remedies to address the issues contained in the complaints.