Business

/

ArcaMax

NLRB asks judge to reinstate two fired union organizers at struggling EV maker Lucid

Grant Schwab, The Detroit News on

Published in Business News

WASHINGTON — An attorney for the National Labor Relations Board is asking an Arizona judge to reinstate two former workers for electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors who were allegedly fired for trying to organize workers at the EV maker's plant there.

A hearing before the judge is already scheduled for Oct. 9. But Tucker Bingham, an attorney for the NLRB, said in a new filing that inaction from the court will unduly halt the workers' effort to join the United Auto Workers.

"(T)he 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. Therefore, to prevent irreparable harm to employees’ rights and the Board’s remedial powers, Petitioner respectfully asks that this Court issue a preliminary injunction to ... require Respondent to offer interim reinstatement," Bingham wrote in the June 6 filing.

If the two employees — Amie Hansen and Chad Brewer — are able to return to their posts, they could resume their UAW-backed organizing drive at the struggling luxury automaker's Casa Grande, Arizona, facility. A successful effort at Lucid would be a welcome but perhaps minor victory for the UAW, which has its sights set on organizing the U.S. plants of larger, more established automakers. It could be far more significant for Lucid and its approximately 6,100 remaining employees — 2,500 of whom work at or near the Casa Grande plant, according to AZ Central.

The facility, which opened in 2021, produces the Lucid Air sedan.

Lucid, which has attracted billions of dollars in investment from international backers, lost $2.8 billion last year and more than $680 million in the first quarter of 2024. It announced plans last month to lay off 400 employees, or about 6% of its workforce. That came after the company laid off 1,300 employees in 2023.

Despite those losses and layoffs, Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson projected optimism in announcing first-quarter financial results.

"I believe there are two factors that set Lucid apart — our superior, in-house technology and the partnership with the PIF (Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund). Our sales momentum is building, our focus upon cost remains relentless, and we believe Gravity is on track to become the best SUV in the world," he said in a May 6 statement, referencing the model planned for launch later this year.

 

The automaker sold 6,001 cars in 2023, up from 4,369 in 2022. It had previously projected sales of 49,000 in 2023.

The NLRB's court filing indicates that Hansen and Brewer tried to establish a bargaining unit under the UAW beginning in January 2023. The two said they were illegally fired as retribution the following month. They submitted a complaint to the NLRB, which serves as a federal referee on labor disputes, shortly thereafter.

The director of the NLRB's Region 28 office in Phoenix, having reviewed the complaint from the employees and conducted an investigation, issued its own complaint against Lucid in January 2024.

In a separate Lucid case, the NLRB's Region 32 office in Oakland, California, approved a settlement agreement in March between Lucid and former employees who were laid off in May 2023. Under the settlement, the company removed a broad confidentiality requirement that was part of the employees' severance packages.

In the case of the two workers who were fired last year, Lucid alleges they falsified timecards

"Lucid respects employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act to choose or to refuse union representation and did not interfere with these employees’ rights under the NLRA in any way," a company spokesperson said in a statement to The Detroit News. "Lucid lawfully separated the employees for violations of company policy."

The statement continued: "We are confident that there is no basis for the National Labor Relations Board 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."


©2024 www.detroitnews.com. Visit at detroitnews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus