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Tesla targeted by new UAW complaint with U.S. labor board

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tesla Inc. is facing another complaint from the UAW over allegations that it retaliated against workers involved in unionizing efforts at its factory in Fremont, Calif.

The charge, filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 5, says the electric vehicle maker disciplined and fired employees in response to participation in protected organizing activities, according to documents obtained by Automotive News via a Freedom of Information Act request with the NLRB.

The allegations come amid an ongoing investigation by the agency into previous charges filed by the union over employee confidentiality agreements.

"Within the past six months and ongoing, Tesla Inc. has interfered with, restrained and coerced employees ... terminating and/or disciplining employees in retaliation for participating in protected concerted activities and National Labor Relations Board activities," the complaint read.

The UAW said in an emailed statement that it filed the complaint on behalf of workers and "continues to support their right to organize and advocate for themselves."

The agency is investigating the charge, according to the case filing.

In August, the NLRB said it was investigating employee claims that required confidentiality agreements banning discussion of working conditions were in violation of workers' rights, as well as allegations of harassment and intimidation. A hearing scheduled for November was indefinitely postponed to investigate new charges.

Tesla is also facing complaints at its battery Gigafactory in Nevada. In a November filing, the UAW said workers were facing "heightened supervisory scrutiny" and interrogations over union activities.

The automaker came under fire in October for terminating 700 employees, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk said was the result of routine performance reviews. The company has also been the subject of UAW organizing efforts, after Fremont employee Jose Moran published a blog in February 2017 detailing harsh working conditions and said workers had contacted the UAW.

A Tesla spokesman referred to the company's past statements in response to the February charge. "No one at Tesla has ever or will ever have any action taken against them based on their feelings on unionization," the automaker once said. "It's worth remembering that each year, roughly 20,000 [unfair labor practice complaints] are filed with the NLRB by unions like the UAW as an organizing tactic."

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