The NLRB ruling reaffirms “any attempt to restrict the wearing of union clothing or insignia is presumptively unlawful and—consistent with Supreme Court precedent—an employer has a heightened burden to justify attempts to limit this important right,” said NLRB chair Lauren McFerran. The ruling stems from a 2017 conflict between Tesla and the United Auto Workers union. Tesla did not respond to a comment inquiry before publication deadline. The UAW celebrated the ruling.
“This [is] a great victory for workers who have the courage to join together and organize in a system that is currently stacked heavily in favor of employers like Tesla who have no qualms about violating the law," UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada noted in a statement. "While we celebrate the justice in today's ruling by an increasingly pro-worker NLRB, it also nevertheless highlights the substantial flaws in U.S. labor law. Here is a company that clearly took numerous aggressive and unlawful steps to block workers' rights, and yet it is more than four years down the road before workers see a modicum of justice.”
Tesla has had a contentious relationship with its workforce, including allegations that it tapped a public relations firm in 2017 and 2018 to monitor its employees on Facebook during a time when some workers looked to launch a union at its Fremont, California factory, CNBC reported in June, citing invoices and documents it reviewed.