Tesla's prohibition on pro-union shirts disobeyed workers' rights and labor board laws
September 01, 2022: -Tesla violated workers’ rights when it told employees they couldn’t wear shirts with a pro-union logo at the factory; the National Labor Relations Board led in a decision.
The NLRB is mandating that Elon Musk’s electric vehicle maker “cease from maintaining and enforcing the broad team-wear policy that restricts production associates from wearing black union shirts.”
Tesla will need to notify the present employees that its “team-wear policy” has been rescinded or revised and provide a copy of any revised policy.
The decision shows a 2019 ruling for the dress code policies at Walmart that allowed the retail titan to limit employees from wearing pro-union insignia at work.
Two labor board members dissented on the Tesla ruling, while three moved to overrule the prior Walmart decision.
The majority wrote, “when an employer interferes in any way with its employees’ right to display union insignia, the employer must prove special circumstances that justify its interference.” The NLRB decided that Tesla did not demonstrate exceptional circumstances that justified its policy.
Tesla had argued before the NLRB that its dress code was meant to prevent workers’ clothing from “causing mutilations” to the cars or car seats they were building and to help managers “easily determine that employees are in their assigned work areas” of the company’s factory.
Former Tesla employees are testifying before the NLRB that management at Tesla made them remove T-shirts with United Auto Workers union messages and logos on them, even though they posed no risk of damaging cars or car seats.
The NLRB ruled that Tesla CEO Elon Musk violated labor laws when he tweeted that Tesla workers would need to give up their stock options if they were unionized. They made it necessary that he remove the offending tweet, but Musk and Tesla moved to appeal that decision.
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