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SpaceX Challenges NLRB’s Legitimacy in Lawsuit Over Alleged Unjust Employee Firings

SpaceX has taken the offensive on National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) following accusations of wrongful terminations related to a critical letter about CEO Elon Musk. It has filed a suit saying that the NLRB’s structure infringes on constitutional grounds.

SpaceX Challenges NLRB’s Structure in Texas Lawsuit

Credit: SpaceX sign logo on Falcon 9 rocket booster displayed at SpaceX headquarters. SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer – Hawthorne, California, USA – 2020 — Photo by MichaelVi

The lawsuit was filed in a Brownsville, Texas, federal court. It aims to block the NLRB’s case from progressing, contending that federal law limits the removal of board members and administrative judges to causes rather than at will.

NLRB Accuses SpaceX of Labor Law Violations

Credit: Getty Images

The NLRB had, just a day before SpaceX’s legal action, complained to the aerospace company, alleging that it violated federal labor laws by dismissing eight employees in 2022 who signed a letter characterizing Musk as a “distraction and embarrassment.”

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Elon Musk in the Spotlight

Credit: Bloomberg Billionarie Index.

The letter accused Musk of making sexist comments contrary to company policies. The forthcoming case will undergo review by an administrative judge and a five-member board appointed by the U.S. president, with the option for further appeal in federal court.

SpaceX’s Lawsuit Questions NLRB’s Constitutionality

Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

SpaceX’s lawsuit challenges the very structure of the NLRB. It states that its constitutionality is compromised due to federal law constraints on the removal of board members and judges.

SpaceX’s Previous Bold Move

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This legal clash comes on the heels of a similar move by SpaceX meant to halt an administrative case initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In that case, which accused SpaceX of unlawfully refusing to hire refugees and asylum recipients, a federal judge in Brownsville paused proceedings in November.

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Judge’s Call

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The judge contended that the appointment of administrative judges at the Justice Department should be by the president, not the attorney general, as currently practiced.

Balance of Power

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In the backdrop of SpaceX confronting the NLRB is a broader conversation about the balance of power and legal frameworks governing labor disputes. The argument hinges on whether the NLRB’s structure, with its limited grounds for removal, withstands constitutional scrutiny or if it indeed infringes on executive authority.

Starbucks Employee Joins SpaceX in Challenging NLRB Decisions

Credit: Campaigners also demand more sustainable packaging, and in particular a 100 per cent recyclable cup (Getty)

This lawsuit draws parallels with another ongoing case involving the NLRB. A Starbucks Corp employee filed suit in October after the board denied her petition for an election to dissolve the union in her New York store.

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No Response To The Lawsuit From NLRB

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The employee alleged that the NLRB’s decision was flawed. The board has yet to respond to this particular lawsuit, marking another instance of discontent with the NLRB’s actions.

Impacts Beyond the Aerospace Industry

Credit: Credit: SpaceX; NASA

As SpaceX confronts the NLRB in this high-stakes legal battle, the outcome may reverberate beyond the aerospace industry, influencing the dynamics of employer-employee relations and the regulatory oversight of labor disputes.

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