Tesla CEO Elon Musk has drawn flak for reportedly threatening employees who wanted to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
Earlier this week, the UAW filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The members alleged that Musk had threatened to take away benefits from Tesla staff who intended to join the union.
Outgoing UAW President Dennis Williams said that threatening to take away employee benefits and stock options in retaliation for their participation in the union is a violation of workers’ rights.
According to a report by CNN, Tesla, over the past six months, harassed or fired employees who supported the union. The automaker, however, refuted the claims. The company issued a statement emphasizing that the employees were fired for other reasons, and not because they supported the union.
Nearly 33,000 people work at Tesla. Musk said that about 2 percent of Tesla workers, which includes salaried and hourly, union and non-union, were let go in the annual review.
“Only known union person fired was a guy who repeatedly threatened non-union supporters verbally and on social media and lied about it,” Musk said.
Last week, in response to a question about unions on Twitter, the Tesla CEO said that nothing is stopping the company from voting for the union.
“But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when the plant was UAW and everybody already gets healthcare,” he said in his tweet.
UAW also alleged that Musk’s tweet on stock option violated the U.S. Labour Law.
Responding to Musk’s take on unions, a Tesla spokesman told Bloomberg that the tweet merely meant union members working at other car companies do not get stock options or restricted stock units.
Last month, Tesla came under fire for allegedly concealing the exact number of workplace injuries at its assembly plant in Fremont, California.
The company may have violated state law by not reporting these worker injuries, says a report by Reveal, a publication which featured interviews with a few Tesla workers. The report exposed workplace injuries, such as “sliced by machinery, crushed by forklifts, burned in electrical explosions and sprayed with a molten metal.”
Amid negative reviews about the electric car company, Musk took a dig at journalists and media houses on Wednesday. In a series of tweets, Musk said that he is thinking of creating a website that would rate journalists based on their credibility. He said he might call this website, “Pravda.”