In an interesting court ruling, a judge found that Tesla (TSLA) and its CEO Elon Musk used social networking site Twitter to thwart a unionizing effort in its Fremont California factory.
Tesla dragged to court
The National Labor Relations Board received complaints about the electric car maker’s labor practices after which it was brought to trial. On Friday, Administrative Law Judge Amita Baman Tracy said that Tesla was guilty of engaging in unfair labor practices. Their rules for paraphernalia and union organization were found to be violating the current labor laws.
The company also terminated the services of two employees on unfair grounds. Not only this, but it was also found guilty of interrogating staff members of their involvement in unions. The company even told them that joining a union will be a worthless exercise.
Musk’s Twitter account was also dragged into the case. He sent a tweet on May 20 last year saying that if unions are introduced in the company, it would lead to a loss of stock options for the staff members.
“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.”
This essentially means that he was a part of the union sabotage effort that was being carried out at the company. Now, the judge wants Musk to read the findings of the court to the factory’s employees.
A big Twitter mistake
According to the judge,
“Musk’s tweet can only be read by a reasonable employee to indicate that if the employees vote to unionize that they would give up stock options. Musk threatened to take away a benefit enjoyed by the employees consequently for voting to unionize.”
Now Fremont factory employees of the company are free to distribute paraphernalia related to the union and even wear it if they chose. The company cannot stop them from handing out union literature to other employees and cannot interfere in their activities.
The two employees who were terminated by the company, Jose Moran and Richard Ortiz must be reinstated into their positions. Of these Moron was the one who came out publicly to discuss the company’s union practices in a blog post in February 2017. The company has been asked to compensate both the employees for a missed time as well as the problems that occurred because of their unlawful terminations.