Oct 3, 2019

Execs keep getting in trouble for anti-union tweets

Elon Musk. Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images

The leaders at some of the most prominent media and tech firms keep getting in trouble for anti-union comments made on Twitter.

Why it matters: Business leaders' long-standing anti-labor bias is coming back to bite those who should know better than to publicly discourage employees from unionizing.

Driving the news: The National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against FDRLST Media LLC, owner of the conservative-leaning news site The Federalist, for a June 2019 tweet by one of its founders suggesting that if "one of you tries to unionize I swear I'll send you back to the salt mine."

Be smart: This has been an ongoing problem:

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk last Friday was ruled guilty by a California judge of violating federal labor laws when he tried to hamper union organizing via a tweet, per Ars Technica. This is far from the first time Tesla has been in hot water with labor regulators over the years.
  • Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy was thrown into the news cycle in August following a series of anti-union tweets that the National Labor Relations Board is now investigating.

The big picture: All of the above executives operate in industries with long histories of unions. Just in the last 2 years, more than 30 media companies' employees have unionized, joining existing unions of newspaper and magazine staff.

Bottom line: These CEOs should know better.

Go deeper: Journalists keep getting in trouble for tweeting

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Dave Portnoy is the founder, not CEO of Barstool Sports.

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