NATIONAL NEWS

Threat or not? Elon Musk gets new hearing on tweet about Tesla workers’ stock amid UAW union effort

Jul 21, 2023, 1:57 PM

FILE - Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Fr...

FILE - Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. A federal appeals court Friday, July 21, said it will reconsider its March ruling that Musk unlawfully threatened employees with a loss of stock options in a 2018 Twitter post amid an organizing effort by the United Auto Workers union. (AP Photo/ Benjamin Fanjoy, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/ Benjamin Fanjoy, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court Friday said it will reconsider its March ruling that Tesla CEO Elon Muskunlawfully threatened to take away employees’ stock options in a 2018 Twitter post amid an organizing effort by the United Auto Workers union.

Three judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a National Labor Relations Board order to delete the tweet. The panel also upheld an order to rehire a fired Tesla employee, with back pay.

But Friday’s brief order says a majority of the court’s full-time judges have voted to hear the matter again — this time before the full court. The March ruling was vacated — snatching away, at least for now, a UAW legal victory.

The case arose amid UAW organizing efforts at a Tesla facility in Fremont, California, and years before Musk bought the platform in 2022.

On May 20, 2018, Musk tweeted: “Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.”

The 5th Circuit panel ruled in March that “substantial evidence supports the NLRB’s conclusion that the tweet is as an implied threat to end stock options as retaliation for unionization.”

The panel also said there was evidence that the terminated employee “was fired for lying about protected union activity and not related to his job performance or Tesla’s legitimate business interests or workplace rules.”

The 5th Circuit currently has 16 full-time judges and one vacancy, pending Senate confirmation of a judge nominated by President Joe Biden.

In March, the judges that ruled on the panel were James Dennis, who was nominated to the court by former President Bill Clinton and now has part-time senior status; Leslie Southwick, nominated by former President George H.W. Bush; and Cory Wilson, nominated by former President Donald Trump.

A UAW spokesperson did not immediately respond Friday afternoon to an email query.

Tesla attorneys have argued that the March panel decision conflicted with Supreme Court and appellate court precedents regarding First Amendment free speech protections. And they said the employee in the case was properly fired for giving false information during an investigation of employee harassment.

National News

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting kills 3 people including a young child in a car on an Alabama street

Three people including a young child were killed when their car was targeted with multiple gunshots outside a residence in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday evening. The Birmingham Police Department said in a social media post that a triple homicide investigation was underway in the 3400 Block of 27th Street North. The police said officers responded […]

4 hours ago

Carlton Smith, left, and Justin Nimmo pose in from of the console of the Barton Opus 234 theater or...

Associated Press

Reviving Hollywood glamor of the silent movie era, experts piece together a century-old pipe organ

DETROIT (AP) — A massive pipe organ that underscored the drama and comedy of silent movies with live music in Detroit’s ornate Hollywood Theatre nearly a century ago was dismantled into thousands of pieces and stashed away. The Barton Opus, built in 1927, spent four decades stored in a garage, attic and basement in suburban […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator ...

Associated Press

Can a Medicaid plan that requires work succeed? First year of Georgia experiment is not promising

ATLANTA (AP) — By now, Georgia officials expected their new Medicaid plan, the only one in the nation with a work requirement, to provide health insurance to 25,000 low-income residents and possibly tens of thousands more. But a year since its launch, Pathways to Coverage has roughly 4,300 members, much lower than what state officials […]

6 hours ago

Catherine Ward, owner of One Acre Farms, a functioning educational farm to help special needs kids,...

Associated Press

After Beryl, Houston-area farmers pull together to face unique challenges

PORTER, Texas (AP) — Hurricanes cause trouble for everyone, but farmers have a whole other list of problems. Beryl has been no exception: Over the past week, the storm damaged crops, soaked rabbits and chickens, terrified goats, put horses at risk of developing colic and left cows without fences to keep them penned in. And […]

6 hours ago

Debris from the Titan submersible, recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic, is...

Associated Press

The first Titanic voyage in 14 years is happening in the wake of submersible tragedy. Hopes are high

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The company that owns the salvage rights to the Titanic is undertaking its first expedition to the ship’s wreckage in years, and those involved in the mission said they have both heavy hearts and lofty goals for a trip happening a year after a submersible disaster involving another firm killed five […]

6 hours ago

Threat or not? Elon Musk gets new hearing on tweet about Tesla workers’ stock amid UAW union effort