Tesla's former head of HR told Elon Musk that the company should promote workers who want to unionize so they could 'turn adversaries into those responsible for the problem': Report

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  • Tesla‘s former head of human resources suggested to CEO Elon Musk that two employees who supported forming a union be given positions that could prevent them from advocating for a union, Bloomberg reports.
  • According to the publication, former HR head Gabrielle Toledano, who joined the company in May 2017 and confirmed her resignation earlier this month after a leave of absence, said in an email to Musk that if the employees were placed on Tesla’s safety team, they might not be able to support a union.
  • Toledano said in another email that placing the employees on the safety team would be an “Amazing way to turn adversaries into those responsible for the problem,” according to Bloomberg, which reports that Musk wrote “Exactly” in response to the email.
  • Toledano told Business Insider that Musk, not her, suggested putting the pro-union employees on the safety team and that she agreed with him.
  • “We encourage anyone who has ideas on how to improve safety to get involved with our safety team. These employees expressed interest in helping to improve safety at Tesla, so we explored ways to provide them with safety roles that would allow them to most effectively do that,” a Tesla representative told Business Insider.

Tesla’s former head of human resources suggested to CEO Elon Musk that two employees who supported forming a union be given positions that could prevent them from advocating for a union,Bloomberg reports.

According to the publication, former HR head Gabrielle Toledano, who joined the company in May 2017 and confirmed her resignation earlier this month after a leave of absence, said in an email to Musk that if the employees were placed on Tesla’s safety team, they might not be able to support a union.

“I am confirming now with Legal that if they join the Safety team then they would then be considered part of management and not eligible to advocate for a union should they accept those roles,” Toledano reportedly wrote.

Toledano said in another email that placing the employees on the safety team would be an “Amazing way to turn adversaries into those responsible for the problem,” according to Bloomberg, which reports that Musk wrote “Exactly” in response to the email.

Toledano told Business Insider that Musk, not her, suggested putting the pro-union employees on the safety team and that she agreed with him. She added it could be helpful to put employees who complain about an element of their jobs on the team or task force responsible for addressing their concerns.

“We encourage anyone who has ideas on how to improve safety to get involved with our safety team. These employees expressed interest in helping to improve safety at Tesla, so we explored ways to provide them with safety roles that would allow them to most effectively do that,” a Tesla representative told Business Insider.

The emails were released as part of the National Labour Relations Board’s (NLRB) investigation into Tesla over claims that the company has violated federal labour laws by interfering with union-organising activities and employee attempts to talk about safety issues, retaliating against employees who supported a union, and using an overly-broad confidentiality policy.

The company has denied those allegations, according to Bloomberg. The publication also reported that Toledano said in an NLRB hearing on Tuesday she considered the possibility of moving pro-union employees to safety positions an opportunity for them to “get involved in something they were criticising.”


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