Sunday, June 23, 2024
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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has accused Tesla of discouraging workers at its Buffalo, New York, assembly plant from union organizing by implementing a rule that prohibits the use of personal technology devices, such as phones, and recording or sharing content. According to NLRB spokeswoman Kayla Blado, the agency issued a complaint late Wednesday, alleging that Tesla’s workplace rule violates U.S. labor law.

This latest development adds to the ongoing legal disputes between Tesla, its workers, and government agencies concerning the electric carmaker’s employment practices. These disputes include cases alleging unlawful anti-union conduct and race discrimination lawsuits. Reuters was unable to obtain a copy of the complaint.

Tesla, which recently announced layoffs affecting 14% of workers at the Buffalo plant, has not yet responded to requests for comment on the NLRB complaint.

The case will be heard by an administrative judge, and a decision can be appealed to the five-member labor board and then to a federal appeals court. An initial hearing is scheduled for July, according to Blado.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has been attempting to organize Tesla factory workers for years, and a renewed effort was announced in November to organize non-union plants nationwide. The NLRB previously ruled against Tesla for prohibiting factory workers in California from wearing union T-shirts, and for CEO Elon Musk’s tweet suggesting that employees would lose stock options if they unionized.

In another legal battle, a U.S. appeals court ruled last year that Tesla had the right to mandate uniforms for factory workers, overturning a decision by the labor board. The same court is currently reviewing Tesla’s appeal of the ruling related to Musk’s tweet.

Meanwhile, Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, is also facing NLRB complaints alleging that it compelled workers to sign illegal severance agreements and terminated engineers who accused Musk of sexism. SpaceX has denied wrongdoing and has filed lawsuits to block the NLRB cases, arguing that the agency’s internal enforcement proceedings violate the U.S. Constitution.

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