A U.S. labor board has thrown out a complaint alleging that Tesla fired dozens of workers over unionizing efforts at its Gigafactory in New York.
A regional NLRB official tossed out the complaint on Friday, according to a report from Reuters, following the Workers United union’s initial filing of the complaint in February. The initial filing alleged that Tesla had fired the employees “in retaliation for union activity,” though the ruling clears the automaker of the claim.
Following the original complaint, Tesla said it had selected the fired employees before the union announced labor efforts at the factory, as a normal part of the company’s performance review structure. The union continued organizing after Tesla denied the allegations, and it plans to follow up on Friday’s ruling.
Workers United said it will request that the NLRB general counsel’s Office of Appeals re-evaluate the dismissal of the claims thrown out on Friday.
Despite the ruling, the official also said they found some merit to other claims surrounding the case, and the board warned that Tesla will still need to settle those allegations.
NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado said on Monday that the official found that Tesla was still violating federal law by establishing rules on how workers could use their devices in the workplace. Tesla had previously banned workers from using their devices to create audio recordings in the workplace, according to Workers United attorney Michael Dolce in a separate report from The Detroit News.
If Tesla doesn’t settle the alternative claim, Blado says the board will formally present the complaint to an agency judge.
“I think when the general counsel’s office digs into the case then they’ll see that it’s a clear pattern of retaliation against a unionizing group of workers and clearly a violation of labor law,” said Jaz Brisack, the union’s organizing director for New York. “I’m confident that the Tesla workers will finally see the justice that they deserve, and we as a union will have their backs the entire way.”
The news comes amidst speculation that a separate union, the United Auto Workers (UAW), could target Tesla’s factories after a successful strike against Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis. UAW President Shawn Fain even called Toyota and Tesla workers “members of the future,” highlighting the union’s plans to continue organizing at non-union represented factories in the U.S.