Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Rep. Ellison Grills Elon Musk on Anti-Union Threats

Rep. Ellison also asks about an April 2018 investigation that found Tesla underreported workplace injuries at its Fremont, California plant

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) today sent a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk regarding his comments on May 21, 2018, which appear to threaten employees at Tesla’s Fremont, California plant with retaliation for engaging in legally protected union activity.

“Workers at a company with as many workplace health and safety issues as Tesla could benefit greatly from forming a union,” said Rep. Ellison. “I am concerned by Mr. Musk’s tweets, which appear to be in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

In a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, the United Auto Workers (UAW) allege that Mr. Musk violated the National Labor Relations Act in one of his tweets where he appears to threaten Tesla employees who engage in union organizing with the revocation of their employee stock options.

The tweet follows a series of anti-worker incidents in Mr. Musk’s workplaces. In October, the UAW alleged that Tesla had intimidated and eventually fired workers at the Fremont plant who were supportive of unionization. An investigation by Reveal found that the rate of serious injuries at the Fremont plant was 30 percent worse than the 2016 industry average, and that the number of workplace injuries at the plant had been undercounted in Tesla’s official log.

Rep. Ellison’s letter notes the findings of the Reveal investigation, and asks Mr. Musk a series of questions including:

1. Will you refrain in the future from threatening your employees with retaliation for exercising federally protected rights, including but not limited to their Section 7 rights to join a union and bargain collectively?

2. Will you refrain in the future from stating or implying that employees will lose job-related benefits if they choose union representation?

3. Will you refrain in the future from adverse action against an employee for choosing to join or support a union?

4. Regarding the health and safety record at the Tesla plant, will you explain the thirteen injuries added to Tesla’s official injury log for 2017 that were not reported initially?

Read the Full Letter [PDF]


Rep. Keith Ellison has represented the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives since taking office on January 4, 2007. The Fifth Congressional District is the most vibrant and diverse district in Minnesota with a rich history and traditions. The Fifth District includes the City of Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs.

Progressives Mobilize in Georgia for Dec. 6 Senate Runoff

Advocacy groups backing Sen. Raphael Warnock call the Democrat a "reproductive rights champion" who is also "fighting to stop the climate crisis and create good jobs in the process."

Jessica Corbett ·

Senate Report Details Failure to Confront 'Persistent and Lethal' Threat of White Supremacists

"The federal government has continued to allocate resources disproportionately aligned to international terrorist threats over domestic terrorist threats," the report reads.

Julia Conley ·

Justice Demanded After Qatari World Cup Official Admits Hundreds of Migrant Worker Deaths

"Until all abuses suffered by migrant workers in Qatar are remedied, the legacy of this World Cup will be severely tarnished by their mistreatment," said Amnesty International's head of economic and social justice.

Brett Wilkins ·

Congressional Labor Caucus Demands More Funding for NLRB Before GOP Takes House

"Workers need the NLRB to receive funding that allows it to fully implement its mission," several Democratic lawmakers told House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer.

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives in Congress Begin to Push Back Against Biden Betrayal of Rail Workers

"What we're seeing is an inhumane deal being pushed onto workers even after a majority voted it down," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo