The National Labor Relations Board, an independent government agency that seeks to enforce U.S. labor laws, has filed a complaint against Tesla in support of claims of intimidation and harassment of workers by Tesla staff and forcing employees to sign an “overly-broad” confidentiality agreement.
The complaint backs up multiple worker accounts of being stopped by Tesla security for posting and passing out flyers concerning unionization, with some workers being interrogated and threatened with termination for such practices. The NLRB claims Tesla has violated the National Labor Relations Act.
The complaint also claims Tesla’s workers rights are violated by being required “to sign an overly-broad confidentiality agreement that could bar them from talking about their working conditions and safety issues at the facility.”
Back in April of this year, Automotive News reported on workers filing charges against Tesla to the NLRB:
Four separate charges were filed last week to the NLRB, including one that lists the UAW as a charging party against Tesla. Each of the filings charges Tesla with instituting illegal “coercive” rules and actions, including surveillance, and changing the company’s employment terms and conditions.
The charges come amid a high-profile fight over unionization at the plant, with workers alleging unfair working conditions and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arguing unionization would be antithetical to Tesla’s mission.
The NLRB documents, first reported on last week by the online publication Capital & Main, allege Tesla of violating the National Labor Relations Act in February by “intimidating, creating the appearance of surveillance and conducting surveillance” on workers either distributing or receiving pro-union literature.
Tesla responded to today’s NLRB complaint filing by attacking the UAW. Here’s the company statement sent to Jalopnik from a Tesla spokesperson:
“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. Faced with declining membership, an overwhelming loss at a Nissan plant earlier this month, corruption charges that were recently leveled against union leaders who misused UAW funds, and failure to gain traction with our employees, it’s no surprise the union is feeling pressured to continue its publicity campaign against Tesla. For seven years, the UAW has used every tool in its playbook: misleading and outright false communications, unsolicited and unwelcomed visits to the homes of our employees, attempts to discredit Tesla publicly in the media, and now another tactic that has been used in every union campaign since the beginning of time – baseless ULP filings that are meant only to generate headlines. These allegations, which have been filed by the same contingent of union organizers who have been so outspoken with media, are entirely without merit. We will obviously be responding as part of the NLRB process.”
Tesla has been battling worker complaints about pay, safety, and rights violations, as well as combating an unionization effort, with CEO Elon Musk aggressively against the concept, even offering to work the same tasks as injured employees to prove, well, to prove something.
A hearing on the NLRB’s complaint against Tesla will be held on November 14th in Oakland, California.
Jalopnik has also reached out to the NLRB for comment and will update if or when we receive a statement.