Elon Musk Tweet Breached Labor Law, Federal Board Rules

Tesla’s enigmatic head tweeted the offending message months before he settled SEC charges over other tweets that inspired claims of duping investors about plans to take his company private.

Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at a March 9, 2020, conference. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CN) — The National Labor Relations Board ruled Thursday that a tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk unlawfully threatened employees with loss of stock options if they chose to be represented by the United Auto Workers union.

Tesla must make Musk delete the May 20, 2018, tweet and stop threatening employees with loss of benefits for supporting a labor organization, according to the board’s order.

The decision affirms one from an administrative law judge who ruled against Tesla in September 2019.

Tesla has not yet commented on the order, nor has Musk, who continues to post on Twitter multiple times day despite announcing a break from the platform on Feb. 2.

Another requirements of the order include that Tesla reinstate and award back pay to an employee who was fired for organizing activity. Tesla finally must also address unfair labor practices at its Fremont, California, plant with a notice, and post a second notice at all U.S. facilities dealing with the tweet.

Musk’s tweet from May 20, 2018, said: “Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.”

The billionaire’s tweets have run afoul of regulators before. As part of a September 2018 settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk and Tesla had to pay $20 million each to resolve claims that Musk duped investors with statements about a plan to take the company private.

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