In 2017, Tesla violated the National Labor Relations Act several times, reports Bloomberg by threatening employees and retaliating against them, an California administrative judge ruled today. An El-Musk tweet from May 2018 – where Musk said joining a union meant giving up Tesla stock options – was also illegal, the judge found.
Nothing that prevented the Tesla team at our car plant from voting association. Could do it tmrw if they wanted to. But why pay union membership fees and give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when the facility was UAW and everyone already gets health care.
̵[ads1]1; Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018
Tesla fired a union supporter; The judge's statement says that this person should be reinstated with a refund. Another member of the trade union should have a warning lifted. And Musk must be present at a meeting at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California, where he or someone with the workforce read aloud a notice to employees that Tesla violated the law.
The finding may be a warning for the tech industry at large. Although Silicon Valley is historically anti-union, several technology company employees have tried to organize themselves. Amazon has shown its employees an anti-union training video, for example as part of the fight against Teamsters, United Food & Commercial Workers Union and Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; warehouse workers struck on Prime Day this year.
Tesla could appeal the ruling to the NLRB's five presidents, something even the judge said was likely. ("This will be appealed no matter what I decide," the judge said, according to Bloomberg .) If considered, that appeal may be decided by three appointed or fully governed, depending on how difficult the case is. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.