Musk's anti-union tweet judged unlawful, must rehire fired organizer

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the National Labor Relations Board's March 2021 order that Elon Musk must delete an anti-union tweet threatening to eliminate stock options for unionized workers at Tesla. Tesla will also have to hire back and compensate a wronged employee.

Mr. Musk seems to enjoy paying lawyers, so I assume he will continue fighting against unionization at his various companies.


Musk tweeted on May 20, 2018: "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 ruling said that "because stock options are part of Tesla's employees' compensation, and nothing in the tweet suggested that Tesla would be forced to end stock options or that the UAW would be the cause of giving up stock options, substantial evidence supports the NLRB's conclusion that the tweet is as an implied threat to end stock options as retaliation for unionization."

The UAW, and Richard Ortiz, the worker whose reinstatement was ordered, praised the ruling. "I look forward to returning to work at Tesla and working with my co-workers to finish the job of forming a Union," Ortiz said in a UAW email.

"This a great victory for workers who have the courage to stand up and organize in a system that is currently stacked heavily in favor of employers like Tesla who have no qualms about violating the law," said UAW Region 6 Director Mike Miller.