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Elon Musk loses Court of Appeal ruling on 2018 anti-union tweet

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A 2018 Twitter post from Tesla CEO Elon Musk illegally threatened Tesla employees with losing their stock options if they decided to be represented by a union, said a federal appeals court on Friday.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a March 2021 order from the National Labor Relations Board, which ordered the tweet removed. The case arose from the organizing efforts of United Auto Workers at a Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

The board’s order directing Tesla to reinstate and pay back wages to an employee terminated for union activity was also upheld.

Musk tweeted on May 20, 2018: “There is nothing stopping the Tesla team at our auto plant from voting for the union. Could do it tmrw if they wanted to. But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2x better than when the factory was UAW and everyone is already getting health care.

The ruling said that “because stock options are part of Tesla’s employee compensation, and nothing in the tweet suggested that Tesla would be forced to terminate stock options or that the UAW is believed to be the cause of the stock options dropout, substantial evidence supports the NLRB’s conclusion that the tweet is an implied threat to end stock options in retaliation for unionization.

The UAW and Richard Ortiz, the worker whose reinstatement was ordered, welcomed the decision. “I look forward to returning to work at Tesla and working with my colleagues to complete the work of forming a union,” Ortiz said in an email from the UAW.

“This is a big win for workers who have the courage to stand up and organize in a system that is currently heavily stacked in favor of employers like Tesla who have no qualms about breaking the law,” he said. said UAW Region 6 Director Mike Miller.

Tesla had not responded to email requests for comment Friday afternoon.

The Huffington Gt

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