Union loot at Tesla is all the rage. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said that Tesla’s current dress code policy was illegal. Specifically, the part where he only allowed employees to wear Tesla shirts or other pre-approved black shirts. That policy meant no union loot was allowed, a stumbling block for anyone trying to organize or show union solidarity.
Tesla’s policy went into effect in 2017, and employees reportedly They were told they couldn’t wear shirts with the United Auto Workers logo. Tesla attempted to justify his dress policy to the board by claiming that his black shirts prevent damage to cars and that he needed to maintain “visual management” of his employees. The NLRB rejected this.
“With today’s decision, the Board reaffirms that any attempt to restrict the wearing of union clothing or insignia is presumptively unlawful,” said NLRB President Lauren McFerran. Special circumstances still exist that allow employers to apply minor restrictions, such as the size and location of the union badge.
A prominent example of a “special circumstance” Classification is how Wal-Mart argued that customer-facing employees needed to maintain professional attire. While it may be difficult for Tesla union supporters to wear a red T-shirt (the common color of union solidarity) with the UAW logo on it, Tesla cannot stop them from wearing the logo itself.
Tesla enforced a rule prohibiting the wearing of t-shirts with any logo besides the Tesla logo during a union drive.
The employer would allow employees to wear their own black shirts with the approval of the supervisor, but not black shirts with the union logo.
— NLRB (@NLRB) August 29, 2022
The dress code did not stop labor organizing at Tesla. In 2019, a judge ruled that the company had been sabotaging unionization efforts. The NLRB also forced Musk to delete anti-union tweets from 2018. In March of this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk even invited the UAW to hold a union vote. That was less a call to protect labor rights in the company and more Appear on Twitter to show that unionization is not necessary at Tesla. “I would hereby like to invite the UAW to hold a union vote at your convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them,” Musk said at the time.
While no vote has taken place, organizers should have an easier time showing solidarity thanks to the latest NLRB ruling.