Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an incorrect tweet on May 21, 2018, and that’s normal because all tweets are bad. But now Musk’s tweet has also been outlawed.
The backstory involves a unionization effort at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California, which Musk ridiculed at the time, claiming that the Tesla workers were well compensated. “They are the highest paid in the industry if capital is included, which you should obviously include“He said in an organized conference call to discuss Tesla’s fourth quarter results for 2017.
Tesla has to get Musk to delete a tweet. This is the tweet in question:
The National Labor Relations Board ruled that the part about union dues and stock options was illegal coercion, because threatening to take part of someone’s compensation, in this case stock options, if employees form a union is illegal. Written notices must also be posted to inform Tesla employees of their organizing rights.
The NLRB also ruled that due to labor law violations, Tesla must rehire an employee named Richard Ortiz and pay you back your back pay. Ortiz had been fired in October 2017.
The UAW, which was behind the organizing effort, issued the following statement:
“This is a huge victory for workers who have the courage to stand up and organize in a system that is currently heavily skewed in favor of employers like Tesla who have no qualms about breaking the law,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, Director of the UAW Organization Department. “While we celebrate justice in today’s ruling, it nonetheless highlights the substantial flaws in US labor law. Here is a company that clearly violated the law and, nevertheless, there are three years left for these workers to achieve a minimum of justice. “
Two Republicans and a five-person NLRB Democrat voted in favor of the decision, which failed to get Musk to read their rights to his own employees. Tesla has not responded to a request for comment.
Since Bloomberg, as published by Automotive News:
NLRB President Lauren McFerran, currently the only Democratic member of the board, supported having the notice read aloud, but her Republican colleagues rejected it at that point. McFerran’s reasoning was that Tesla committed “numerous” violations of the law, according to the ruling, several of them perpetrated by senior company officials.
Posting a written notice sends a much weaker signal to employees than having executives read it aloud, said Harvard Law School professor Benjamin Sachs, who suggested that forcing Musk to post the notice in his Twitter account would also have been a more appropriate remedy.
When executives have to read the notice to employees, he said, it shows workers “that the boss is not the only authority in the world, that the law is a higher authority than the boss.”
Unionize your workplace if you can. And never tweet.
You can read the full NLRB decision below.