National Labor Relations Board rules Tesla must allow pro-union insignia on factory uniforms

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Credit: Tesla

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled Tesla violated labour laws by not allowing employees to wear pro-union insignia on their factory uniforms. The decision came down in a 3-2 ruling published on Monday.

According to the ruling Tesla argued they require their factory workers to wear a black shirt with a company logo on it, or an all black shirt on occasion when approved by a manager, in order to prevent clothing from damaging cars during production.

The automaker also said that employees were free to display other kinds of pro-union insignia while on the job. Several former employees testified during the case that they were asked to remove their shirts that supported the United Auto Workers (UAW), despite other employees being allowed to wear shirts for the favourite sports teams.

Based on the evidence presented, the Board ruled Tesla violated labour laws and ordered the automaker to change its dress code to allow black union shirts to be worn while on the job.

“For many decades, employees have used insignia to advocate for their workplace interests — from supporting organizing campaigns, to protesting unfair conditions in the workplace — and the law has always protected them. When an employer interferes in any way with its employees’ right to display union insignia, the employer must prove special circumstances that justify its interference,” the NLRB majority said in its ruling. (via Bloomberg)
Not all Board members agreed, with the dissenting voters saying the decision “distort[s] decades of precedent” and “effectively declares illegitimate any employer uniform policy or dress code that prohibits employees from substituting union apparel for required clothing.”
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