American automaker Tesla Inc. seemed to have caught the National Relations Board’s (NLRB) attention as the US labor law enforcer files a complaint against the auto company for unfair labor practices.
The federal agency issued the complaint after verifying that the company has violated workers’ rights by prohibiting their employees from leafleting or even talking about their working situations and safety issues at Tesla’s flagship factory in Fremont, California.
The charge additionally claims that the workers in Fremont were questioned by the management over protected union activities.
The workers also said that they were obligated to sign a contract that was too broad which states that they would be terminated or prosecuted if they ever tried to disclose any information about their job or working conditions either publicly or through media.
Tesla has been required to respond to the complaints by September 14, whereas NLRB has set a hearing before an administrative judge in November 14 at Oakland, California.
A spokesman for the company said that Tesla would comply with the order, but described the charge was only a publicity ploy made by American labor union United Automobile Workers (UAW) and that it was pressured to push the automaker after failing to create a union at a Nissan plant in August.
The spokesman also stated that the allegations filed by UAW against the company are completely without merit, adding that they will be responding as part of the NLRB process.
Tesla vs. UAW
Back in April of this year, the auto giant has also been burdened with four separate charges with three of them filed by its own employees to NLRB, and one identifying UAW as the charging party against Tesla.
Workers unionizing with UAW stated that Tesla has been working them too hard for too little pay, therefore making their job at the factory unsafe. Back in May, the company’s rate of nonfatal injuries at its facility resulted way higher than the national average.
Moreover, Tesla employees have decided to start a public campaign with UAW in an effort to unionize the plant to improve wages and working conditions.
The union said that production workers at the factory are being paid at about $17 per hour, below the average wage for employees working for car manufacturers around the country.
UAW has been attempting to unionize Tesla’s Fremont facility for at least four years now, working with the carmaker’s employees since at least last year.
Tesla is only one of the companies UAW is trying to fight to organize after many years of delayed efforts. Other auto companies included in the labor union’s activity are Nissan and Volkswagen.
However, its attempts to unionize came across several setbacks in recent months, including its failure to have enough votes to organize a Nissan factory in Mississippi as well as seeing its former members be accused of misusing worker-training funds.
A factory worker supporting the union said that the complaint filed against Tesla will be able to help the people realize that they have the right to speak up whenever they see something that is not right.
After closing 0.7 percent higher to $355.90 for the third straight trading session on Thursday, Tesla’s shares were up once again by 0.06 percent to $356.10 in pre-market trading on Friday.