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Elon Musk’s Tesla hired a PR firm to monitor employees on Facebook: report


Elon Musk’s Tesla company reportedly hired a public relations consultancy to monitor its employees’ social media activities, particularly Facebook, when some workers sought to form a union at the company’s factory in Fermont, California, between 2017 and 2018.

CNBC, citing invoices and other documents, reported that MWW PR was closely monitoring discussions alleging unfair labor practices at Tesla and about a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The PR firm monitored the social media platform “to comment on organizing efforts and to conduct research specifically on organizers, then developing work communication plans, media lists and pitches based on on their recognition,” CNBC said.

In response to the report, MWW PR told CNBC that it “consulted with Tesla in 2017-2018 on a broad employee communication engagement during a period of rapid company growth.”

“It’s common practice to examine media coverage and public social conversation about a company to better understand issues and stakeholder perceptions about the brand,” the company said.

Musk has been a vocal opponent of union training and has often clashed with Democrats and President Joe Biden for their pro-union stance.

Read also | ‘Elon Musk is a wolf in sheep’s clothing’: Nonprofits launch campaign to stop Twitter takeover

In 2017, Tesla fired labor activist Richard Ortiz, and in 2018 Musk tweeted a comment that allegedly violated federal labor laws.

The National Labor Relations Board ordered Tesla to reinstate Ortiz and have Musk delete his tweet, which they said threatened workers’ compensation. Tesla appealed the Administrative Court’s decision and his tweet stands.

Read also | Biden, in a rare rebuke, “wishes” Musk “good luck with his trip to the moon,” gets “Thank you, Mr. President!” in response

Musk recently said he would vote Republican in the next election because “the Democratic Party is too controlled by unions” and class-action lawyers.

Tesla factories in Texas and California have never held union elections.

(With agency contributions)

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Post expires at 4:52am on Tuesday June 14th, 2022