- Despite a shelter-in-place order, Tesla has kept some operations in its Fremont, California plant going, according to documents viewed by Business Insider.
- The company is also reaching out to employees by text and phone call and asking them to return to work this week, workers told Business Insider.
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk has called shelter-in-place orders “fascist” and unconstitutional.
- Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
- Are you a current or former Tesla employee? Do you have an opinion about what it’s like to work there? Contact these reporters at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach out to Mark on Signal at 646-768-4712 or email his encrypted address at email@example.com.
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Tesla has continued some operations at its Fremont, California, plant and is asking employees to come back to work despite a county shelter-in-place order, according to three Tesla employees and internal communications and company documents.
Two of the employees said Tesla communicated to them about returning to work by phone call or text message. One was told to direct any questions to an internal helpline just for Covid-19 related questions. That same employee was told that if they did not return to work they would not receive benefits, and would be unable to apply for unemployment.
The second employee was told that if they did not show up their furlough status could change.
Workers Business Insider spoke with said they were nervous that they were at risk of losing their jobs if they didn’t comply with the company’s orders and report to work.
On Saturday, Tesla published its guidelines for reopening the factory on its website, saying it had “started the process of resuming operations.” According to a third employee and an internal document, Tesla made vehicles at the Fremont factory over the weekend.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been extremely vocal in his opposition to California’s shelter-in-place orders, calling them “fascist” and unconstitutional. He also threatened to move Tesla out of California because of the shelter-in-place order. Currently all of Tesla’s car manufacturing factories are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Musk told Tesla employees in an email sent on Friday that the company would restart production at the Fremont factory that afternoon after California released guidelines for some businesses, including manufacturers, to begin resuming operations. But the Alameda County Public Health Department told Business Insider that Tesla did not meet the criteria necessary to reopen under the county’s shelter-in-place order, which has not yet been lifted. On Saturday, Tesla sued Alameda County, saying its order broke federal and state law.
Tesla’s Fremont plant is the only automotive factory the company has in the US. Though the electric-car maker opened its second automotive plant, in Shanghai, last year, the Fremont facility makes the “vast majority” of Tesla’s vehicles, Musk said in April.
The Shanghai factory had reopened in February after a brief closure before halting production again last week due to a lack of parts and a piece of broken equipment, Bloomberg and 36kr reported. Tesla said the factory was closed for normal maintenance in a statement to Bloomberg.
Alameda County did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Are you a current or former Tesla employee? Do you have an opinion about what it’s like to work there? Contact these reporters at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also reach out to Mark on Signal at 646-768-4712 or email his encrypted address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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