Tesla made electric cars cool, helping to usher in the gas-free transportation revolution and proving that it might be possible to break free from our addiction to fossil fuels. The company has done many good things, but according to a new complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board it’s come at the expense of its employees.
The complaint alleges that Tesla has been overreaching in its control over its workers, violating their rights with strict confidentiality agreements which could prevent them from coming forward with complaints over their own working conditions. The filing also claims that Tesla employees who have attempted to start unionization efforts with their co-workers have been threatened with termination.
In an interesting move, Tesla didn’t just respond to the allegations, but went on the offensive. In a statement to Jalopnik, Tesla attacks the United Auto Workers:
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.
Tesla will have its chance to officially address the matter when its hearing with the National Labor Relations Board is held on November 14th.