U.S. Labor Board Lodges Workers’ Rights Complaint Against Tesla

2 weeks ago by Steven Loveday 60

Tesla

Tesla Model S at company’s Fremont factory

It was only a matter of time before the U.S. Labor Board would move forward in filing an official complaint against Tesla following reports made by some employees.

Three Tesla employees, as well as the United Auto Workers (UAW), filed complaints against the Silicon Valley automaker. The UAW has been pushing to unionize the company for some time, and now it has been able to get the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in on the action.

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 will push the automaker through “production hell” according to CEO Elon Musk.

The NLRB is making it known that it has enough information related to workers’ complaints about unfair labor practices, that the agency is compelled to move forward. The board claims that Tesla violated workers’ right by way of mandating that all workers sign a confidentiality agreement.  The labor board also stated that it has investigated charges made by workers that claim the automaker intimidated and/or harassed them.

Further, the board asserts that the said agreement may make it difficult for workers to openly discuss safety issues and work conditions. Workers explained that the company document bars them from sharing in public or with the media about anything they see at work or related to working conditions, without facing possible criminal prosecution or even termination.

The U.S. agency filed the official complaint on Thursday, August 31, 2017. Tesla has two weeks (September 14) to respond to the pending charges. Following this, the NLRB will hold a hearing before an administrative law judge in Oakland, California on November 14. Tesla released a statement (via Reuters):

“These allegations, which have been filed by the same contingent of union organizers who have been so outspoken with media, are entirely without merit.”

Source: Reuters

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60 responses to "U.S. Labor Board Lodges Workers’ Rights Complaint Against Tesla"

  1. Nick says:

    Robots can’t come soon enough. Why are we putting people’s lives at risk working in dangerous factories, when we can simply have robots do it all?

    Next gen car needs next gen factory?

    1. Bacardi says:

      This article seems to think it could be the Model Y…

      http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-completely-inhuman-automated-factory-2017-5

      If we watched the M3 delivery party where they showed inside the Fremont factory, you could see the assembly line in the background and a lot of humans performing assembly tasks…

    2. Ocean Railroader says:

      I suport your robot idea if they invent some type of robot that can give me $700 week to pay for all these wonderful bills the haves keep handing me every other day.

      And I don’t have to go deal this this stupid thing called a job.

      But till that day comes these haves are going to be kicking and screaming with the idea that they are going to have to pay for workers not at slave wages.

      1. SparkEV says:

        If they’re handing you the bills that you didn’t use the services, you don’t have to pay them. Even if you used the services, you don’t have to pay them; they’ll simply not provide additional service. No one’s forcing you to pay anything.

        You don’t even have to go to your job like millions of homeless people. You choose to do so to spend on nice things in life and live like the millionaires of the past. No one’s putting a gun to your head to go to your job.

        Your problem is that you want to live like the rich and not work by stealing using the guns of the government from others who do work.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          Dude the County hands me bills called Taxes. Do I need to live in a house? Well most likely not but it would be nice not to be homeless and have a fixed address.

          The Car Repair Shop hands me bills when my car malfunctions. Do I need a car? Well most likely considering work is ten miles away one way.

          Two weeks ago the Density Guy gave me a $600 dollar bill. Do I need teeth? Well it would surely make life more nicer having teeth.

          What I’m tired of his how cold dumb and the haltered Techies have for human workers.

          Also I didn’t know you thought I was a millionaire?

          1. Mint says:

            These “Techies” mostly live in very Democrat states that want to help out the underpaid/underemployed. Nothing will be improved by obstructing automation.

            Robots and automation are fundamentally a fantastic thing for society. The problem is that as a society, we are choosing to use it very poorly.

            We need to increase min wage and decrease hours so that the remaining work gets spread around. Redistribution (of both work and income) is the only way to have a functioning society going forward when productivity gets so concentrated.

          2. Steven says:

            Density guy?

      2. scottq says:

        It is simple. As automation eliminates millions of jobs, give everyone social security, or watch society go bye bye.

        It is either universal income, or a mad max scenario. Maybe Tesla will add a bullet proof option, or even IED detection/deterrent.

        1. Roy_H says:

          +1

          We now live in a society where the extremely rich have most of the money and although I believe in the capitalist ideals, I think it has gone too far. They can easily do with a little less and spread the wealth to those who need it. Rather than think of it as taking money from the rich, think of it as spreading the benefits of technology and automation to everybody instead of only to the rich.

    3. Steven says:

      Driven by the next gen unemployed?

  2. Ll'amata says:

    Robots don’t require unions to skim off the cream.. The Gravy money* union dues.

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      Robots also don’t buy cars or consumer goods or food they also don’t pay heath care costs or worry about retirement.

      1. SparkEV says:

        If Robots don’t buy them, who will since according to you, people won’t have the money? Fact is, robots will produce and prices will adjust to accommodate the demand.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          There is a lot of customer goods out there that I would like to buy or own but me working a minimum wage job I can only pretend to own stuff.

          When automation finally kills my job I can truly say I’m on the road to homelessness.

          You sound like some one who has never known what it is like to comprehend what life above the poverty line.

          You really think that us people on minimum wage some how have the government magically give us a credit card with no limit but I have never seen that.

          1. Must be tough working on the Railroad out on the Ocean! One would think the pay was higher! I used to work on the RR on land, and while the work was hard, it paid for me to learn to fly and get my pilots licence!

            Victor Belenko, the famous Mig 25 Pilot that defected in 1976, or so, flying his Mig into Japan from Russia, said that – in America, even a Farm Hand was paid well enough to learn to fly and get a Pilots Licence!

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “You sound like some one who has never known what it is like to comprehend what life above the poverty line.”

            Indeed, with the callous and even hostile way Sparky describes the working class — as filthy, disease-spreading vermin — I’m guessing he never had to get his hands dirty working for a living. Sparky likely got his money the old-fashioned way: He inherited it!

  3. William says:

    You can openly discuss work conditions freely, after the door hits you in the back, as you cross the threshold, never to return to The Fremont Manufacturing Teslarati Kingdom of St. Elon! Good riddance to the same type of employees that shut down the NUMMI GM and Toyota plant, at the very same location just less than 8 years ago. Gee, I wonder where those jobs went?

    History has a way of repeating itself, when people ignore the lessons of that said History.

    1. William says:

      The new Tesla fictitious factory location, cranking out the “CARtel Hell” production line, of the 2018 Tes-Mex Model 3, is starting to have its first Maquiladora Moment.

    2. Nick says:

      If you want to know the history of the NUMMI plant, this is a great primer:

      https://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/561/nummi-2015

      GM employees + Toyota management == most productive plant in GMs stable.

      Thanks!

      1. William says:

        That is why they shut it down and moved production to Mississippi, and Canada, and now starting to ramp up some Tacoma production in Mexico for sales here back in the US.

        Thanks.

        1. Nick says:

          Yep, bankruptcy and Toyota pulling out will do that to you.

          Thanks!

  4. ChevyVolt-fan says:

    Only in this country can your business be held at gun point by your employees and it’s legal.

    1. Nick says:

      Only in this country do we call having to treat workers like people and paying a living wage “being held at gun point”.

      Germany manages to have unions without politicization or otherization of their friends and neighbors.

      Only in the US indeed.

      1. SparkEV says:

        “Living wage” is BS. Living wage for who? For a family of seven who live in the bay area (or in Beverly Hills), that could be several hundred thousand dollars while single homeless guy in Los Angeles could be only few hundred dollar. Then this “living wage” degenerate into “from those according to their ability, to those according to their need” where the “needs” hugely outgrow without bounds while “ability” become almost zero. This is why socialism always fail.

    2. Ocean Railroader says:

      I have never seen a state in this county where workers tell management what to do.

      1. ChevyVolt-fan says:

        You must be unfamiliar with Unions then.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I guess you have convinced yourself that employees exercising collective bargaining equates with putting a gun to your head. How terrible it is that all the “little people” are allowed to band together to fight a big bully!

          Reminds me of all those super-rich guys who call themselves “job creators”, to help justify their sense of entitlement. No doubt they think the opening to the Declaration of Independence should be rewritten to read “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal… unless they’re job creators!”

          1. trololo says:

            Or unless they inherited …

  5. Mark.ca says:

    I’m pretty sure the issue here is not the confidentiality agreement. Many employers have it and is not really a big deal. Where i work we have one in place too (even though the president mentioned on a few occasions during our management meetings that it is almost unenforceable). The investigation will most likely focus on working conditions.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Of course that’s not the issue; it’s just an excuse for more union activist propaganda. Many work places these days, perhaps most of them, require employees to sign a confidentiality agreement. I’ve signed several in my life.

  6. Dan says:

    From reading this comment section, I can’t imagine where Trump voters get the idea that EVs are the play toys of wealthy, callous, coastal elites who don’t care about working people!

    1. SparkEV says:

      Coastal elites are generally left wingers. They are wealthy and callous, but with very strong virtue signaling.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      It is rather shocking to see all the rabid anti-union comments posted to every single InsideEVs article related to unions.

      However, defending the UAW on the basis of unions in general being a good thing, is like defending the Menendez brothers on the grounds of having sympathy for orphans!

      Small unions are in general a good thing. Very large unions like the UAW are definitely not.

  7. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Why is Tesla Motors being singled out by InsideEVs for coverage of union activism? Why no coverage of union activism and NRLB actions against other automotive companies?

    For example:

    USA Today, 1 Aug 2017: “NLRB lodges charge at Nissan ahead of union vote”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2017/08/01/nlrb-lodges-charge-nissan-ahead-union-vote/104183594/

    The Recorder, 23 Aug 2017: “NLRB to Argue Against Uber in Key Labor Fight in Ninth Circuit”

    http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202796241850/NLRB-to-Argue-Against-Uber-in-Key-Labor-Fight-in-Ninth-Circuit?slreturn=20170803161031

    * * * * *

    If there wasn’t so much stock investor interest in Tesla, both from “longs” and “shorts”, would we be seeing all these articles at InsideEVS? No, I think not.

    I hope to see far less of this type of coverage in the future. If I want to read investor-related articles and blog posts obsessing over trivial matters affecting Tesla’s stock prices, there are plenty of websites for that: The Street, Motley Fool, and of course the Wall Street Journal.

    I come here for EV news and discussion. This article ain’t that.

    1. Waiting says:

      Absolutely! Well said.

    2. Scott Franco says:

      Because The Tesla factory is not in a right to work state, and California will never be so given it is a one party state. The UAW wants to unionize Tesla, thinks it sees a way to do that by inventing aggrieved workers, and believes that the Democrats in charge will help them. I think they have a chance.

    3. Spider-Dan says:

      Hey, here’s another Tesla-related article on InsideEVs only a few hours prior:

      http://insideevs.com/fully-charged-presents-its-own-tesla-powerwall-2-installation/

      I looked through the comments and didn’t see you objecting that other battery companies were not receiving articles about installation videos, nor did I see any objection about the Tesla Powerwall not being “EV news and discussion.”

      Perhaps, for that article, you determined that it was not relevant to your interests and you simply chose to click on a different instead. Maybe that’s a strategy that would have served you well here, too.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I guess it’s just me then, Spider-Dan.

        Oh, wait… no, it’s not. Not at all.

  8. Ocean Railroader says:

    I can tell you the big companies are the biggest bullies on the face of the earth. If Unions didn’t exist we would slide back to the Slums and Poverty of the 1830’s England.

    Tesla has the most state of the art production line and a big well loved brand name.

    Them feuding with their workers is them trying to get every last penny out of their workers. Also GM has a Union and GM as of now is doing well now.

    1. SparkEV says:

      This union saving the world is total BS. If that’s true, engineers would be the lowest paid profession in the world as most are not unionized. Fact is, professions without union are doing very well.

      If everyone were required to be in unions, we wouldn’t have all the innovations we have today thanks to union thugs protecting the politically connected rather than the capable and productive. We probably would still be using steam power like it’s 1830’s. Unions are simply bad for freedom and human progress.

      1. Insulted says:

        Spoken like someone who has never had management shove a stick up you ass and then had their union come to the rescue to protect the workers rights.

        You can blame unions for whatever BS you want, but if you have never gotten help from a union, then you know not from which you speak.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          Being a Bully in the morning is what makes being Management a fun job it’s the only fun they ever get.

        2. As someone who was backstabbed by a senior employee while I was yet on Probation, I can tell you that in some places Unions might help, but that Union Brother was out to mess with new hires! If not for having a Boss fight FOR me, as he knew my work from a common previous place of employment, in the same industry, I may have been jobless, due to trusting a ‘Fellow Union Brother!’

      2. Mint says:

        “This union saving the world is total BS. If that’s true, engineers would be the lowest paid profession in the world as most are not unionized.”

        What kind of pathetic logic is that?

        1. CCIE says:

          The true kind. Only people who can’t succeed based on their own skill & effort need unions to help them. There’s a reason that union shops always provide the worst quality products.

      3. William says:

        What did St. Elon do in Germany, with his newly acquired Union organized Engineering firm? Oh, that is right, he gave them the pay raises that the Union had asked for, to help give them more freedom, and to hopefully progress their humanity, so they could be more productive at work. Kind of interesting how that all worked out?

      4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Sparky would just love to see a return to the days before union activism forced governments to enact labor laws.

        * * * * *

        CITIZENS BANK OF CLARE
        RULES FOR EMPLOYEES
        March 10, 1909

        1. Office employees will daily sweep the floors, dust the furniture, shelves and counters.

        2. Each day fill lamps, clean chimneys, and trim wicks. Wash the windows once a week.

        3. Each clerk will bring in a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s business.

        4. Make your pens carefully; You may whittle nibs to suit your individual taste.

        5. The office is will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. daily except on the Sabbath, on which day it will remain closed. Each employee is expected to spend the Sabbath by attending church.

        6. Men employees will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes, or two evening off a week if they go regularly to church.

        7. Every employee should lay aside for each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden upon the charity of his betters.

        8. Any employee who smokes Spanish cigars, uses liquor in any form, gets shaved at a barber shop, or frequents pool or public halls, will give us good reason to suspect his worth, intentions, integrity or honesty.

        9. The employee who has performed his labor faithfully, and without fault for a period of five years in our service, and who has been thrifty, and is looked upon by his fellow men as a law abiding citizen, will be given an increase of ten cents per day in his pay, provided a just return in profits from the business permits it.

    2. William says:

      If The GM union is doing so well, why are their union leaders subverting themselves by letting GM build cars (Buick Envision, Cadillac CT-6 plug in hybrid), in China (non union), for sale back here in the US? I suppose they don’t need or want the extra work for their employees here in the US.

    3. CCIE says:

      Unions had their place in the early 1900s. Then they got greedy and corrupt. Now we have lazy incompetent overpaid union workers kept employed solely because they have seniority.

      Some basic worker protections are fine. But, this is america; getting and keeping a job should be mostly based on a worker’s skill. If they’re skilled enough, then they’ll deserve to keep their job and be paid well. If not, too bad.

      1. Dan says:

        This is not a pro or anti union issue. You want into any bank today and there are strict whistleblower rules so that employees who point out issues are not punished. Most corporations even have dedicated complaint lines that are manned by ‘ombudsmen’ who by definition do not report directly to management.

        What makes Tesla unique that those kinds of laws don’t apply to them? If an employee finds a safety issue, they must be able to freely document it internally and/or externally.

        1. CCIE says:

          Whistleblower laws and workplace safety provisions are fine. And Tesla has them.

          Unions are a whole different, and malevolent, beast.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        You’re trying to tar all unions with the brush of the UAW.

        That’s like saying all orphans must be murderers because the Menendez bros. killed their parents.

        1. CCIE says:

          I’m sure there are some good unions, mostly in foreign countries. But, I’ve never heard of a union in the US that wasn’t mostly as I described above. I have relatives that are teachers and work for the state. The stories about incompetent workers who can’t be fired are endless.

          NYC actually has “rubber rooms” full of teachers who can’t be fired but also can’t be put in front of students for various reasons. They get paid to hang around and pretend to do busy work.

  9. kent beuchert says:

    Automakers use a hell of a lot of robots and have been for years, decades. Painting and welding were the first tasks to go robotic.
    Naturally, it required the UAW automakers to basically provide an early retirement for lots of fairly young workers. Musk will get a taste of many things in the near future – an avalanche of competition from the other automakers, probably continued bad press for their service and probably their supercharger stations once those large numbers of Model 3s hit the pavement. And now labor troubles. And Tesla Motors does not have the aility to go off shore or to Mexico. After years of having a virtual monopoly, Tesla Motors is entering the world of free markets and intense competition.

  10. Scott Franco says:

    The NLRB can go take a flying leap.

  11. Spider-Dan says:

    If you ever want to see commenters on this site find common ground with climate-change-deniers, just look for any article that pits labor against Tesla. The comment section becomes indistinguishable from Fox News.

    I’m just waiting for someone to accuse the NLRB of being Tesla shorters.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      +1

    2. Mark.ca says:

      It is sad how easy we fall for the big corporations propaganda.

  12. Windbourne says:

    Musk should short circuit the UAW and push to have a union for the employees. Let them have it. But without the UAW or any other organized union, then it is easy enough to actually have happy employees that work.

    1. CCIE says:

      At some point that may make sense to keep the UAW from destroying Tesla. Moving the factory out of CA would be even better.

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