NLRB files for injunction against Lucid

Lucid Motors could face an injunction as the National Labor Relations Board claims it unlawfully terminated two employees engaged in unionization efforts at its Casa Grande, Arizona, manufacturing plant.

The union-busting allegations were first filed before the U.S. District Court in Arizona in January. However, because the hearing on that complaint is months away, Region 28-Phoenix Regional Director Cornele Overstreet is now pushing for a court injunction that would reinstate the employees, among other measures, according to a June 6 filing.

“The reality is that enforcement of a final National Labor Relations Board (Board) Order is years away, and by that time the employees’ campaign will be beyond revival,” the filing stated.

As a result, Overstreet is asking the district court judge for an injunction that orders Lucid to offer interim reinstatement to the two workers, to cease and desist from unfair labor practices, and for the district court’s order to be publicly read, posted and distributed electronically to employees.

Why Lucid’s actions are under scrutiny

The NLRB claims Lucid waged a “multipronged campaign to frustrate its employees’ legally protected efforts to unionize,” according to the court filing. The alleged activities include surveillance, confiscating union literature from non-working areas of the plant and soliciting grievances from potential union-supporters on the factory floor, among other actions.

One of the two former Lucid employees reached out to the United Auto Workers on Jan. 17, 2023, in an effort to address employees’ concerns, such as scheduling, parking, hazard pay and communication issues with management. 

A union organizer met with less than a dozen employees via Zoom days later, according to the filing. The organizer provided the workers with flyers to distribute around the facility where other employees could scan a QR code and voice their concerns about job issues.

The two employees named in the filing began posting the flyers in bathrooms and break rooms daily starting Jan. 25, only to have them repeatedly removed by HR, a manager and supervisor, the agency alleged. 

Soon thereafter, the two employees noticed an increased supervisor presence around them. One of the two campaign leaders was moved to a new department, and communication between the two was monitored and restricted, the filing stated.

By Feb. 3, about 35 Lucid employees had filled out a survey in support of unionization, and the two organizers distributed more union literature on Feb. 6. Then, on Feb. 7, the two employees were fired for allegedly falsifying timecards, the agency claimed.

Discharges dampen union organizing efforts

Following the discharges, union campaign meeting attendance dropped “markedly,” the filing states, with only two or three employees attending a Feb. 8 meeting out of the 35 who had expressed interest in joining the union. 

One of the organizers received a text from a former co-worker that said everyone was extremely scared by the firings, according to the filing. “Some employees told the Union they needed to keep their jobs, so they were no longer willing to help the organizing effort,” the filing said.

The UAW filed an unfair labor practice charge against Lucid on Feb. 21, alleging that discharge of the two employees violated the National Labor Relations Act.

In an email to Automotive Dive, a Lucid spokesperson said the company respects employees’ choice to unionize and did not interfere with the employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act in any way.

“Lucid lawfully separated the employees for violations of company policy,” the spokesperson said. “We are confident that there is no basis for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) to pursue an injunction in federal court. Lucid is committed to following the law and protecting the rights of our employees to make an informed choice free from harassment, threats, or coercion.”

The hearing for the complaint is set for Oct. 9, and legal proceedings in relation to the injunction are ongoing.