The National Labor Relations Board has filed an official complaint against Tesla, saying the company violated workers' rights by suppressing their unionization efforts.
Tesla will have to submit an answer to the charges on or before September 14 and appear at a hearing before an NLRB administrative law judge in Oakland, California, that will begin November 14.
The United Auto Workers, a labor union, and three Tesla employees submitted separate complaints in April claiming the company had coerced employees trying to aid a unionization effort into silence. The NLRB said it has found merit to the charges and filed them into one official complaint.
The complaint says Tesla forced employees to sign a restrictive confidentiality agreement that prevented them from organizing or discussing their work conditions. It also claims some Tesla security guards and human-resources employees intimidated factory workers who were trying to pass out leaflets regarding the union organizing efforts and asked them to leave the premises.
Some workers at Tesla's Fremont factory have been calling for a union since the the beginning of this year. Those part of the union effort say they regularly face excessive mandatory overtime and dangerous work conditions.
"These allegations, which have been filed by the same contingent of union organizers who have been so outspoken with media, are entirely without merit," a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement. "We will obviously be responding as part of the NLRB process.”
Here's Tesla's statement in full:
“As we approach Labor Day weekend, there’s a certain irony in just how far the UAW has strayed from the original mission of the American labor movement, which once advocated so nobly for the rights of workers and is the reason we recognize this important holiday. Faced with declining membership, an overwhelming loss at a Nissan plant earlier this month, corruption charges that were recently leveled against union leaders who misused UAW funds, and failure to gain traction with our employees, it’s no surprise the union is feeling pressured to continue its publicity campaign against Tesla. For seven years, the UAW has used every tool in its playbook: misleading and outright false communications, unsolicited and unwelcomed visits to the homes of our employees, attempts to discredit Tesla publicly in the media, and now another tactic that has been used in every union campaign since the beginning of time – baseless ULP filings that are meant only to generate headlines. These allegations, which have been filed by the same contingent of union organizers who have been so outspoken with media, are entirely without merit. We will obviously be responding as part of the NLRB process.”