CEO Elon Musk personally took to Twitter allegedly threatening worker’s benefits by saying: “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.”
@dmatkins137 @ShayneRarma @NASA Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if… https://t.co/EI77ENhl8d
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 1526885087000
What’s the problem with this tweet?
Tesla mentioned that union members of other car companies do not get stock options.The company claims that the tweet in question simply pointed out this fact. “Musk’s tweet was protected by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech,” Tesla said in its defence as per the report. However, NLRB’s chairwoman Wilma Liebman found this tweet as a ‘threat’ violating labour laws.
“The employee is going to hear it as, ‘If I vote to unionize, stock options will no longer be an option,” Liebman told
Meanwhile, the NLRB ordered that Tesla must give Richard Ortiz his job back with his past disciplinary records removed from the files. Also, Tesla needs to “make him whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits.”
Apart from deleting the tweet, the board also ordered Musk to share a legal notice to employees about the ruling and clearly mention their rights to “form, join, or assist a union”.
Neither Musk nor Tesla has responded to this ruling and they can approach a federal court to appeal the ruling. Having said that Musk is yet to delete the tweet.