Among the top contributors to California’s economy, Tesla had supported over 51,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent report by IHS Markit. Tesla leaving California would be a substantial blow to the state’s economy. The threat of that outcome is what Alameda County, where Tesla’s factory is based, had to face. Between exposing the populace to the COVID-19 contagion and hurting the local economy, Alameda County was presented with a tough decision to re-open.
The pandemic is straining society’s constructs and systems to breaking by discouraging social contact. However, Elon Musk strongly disagreed and defied the local stay-at-home orders to resume production. Not to mention, a recent tweet from President Trump had given him the backing he needed.
Musk Grateful For Support In Clash Against Alameda
In response to the endorsement, Musk replied to President Trump’s tweet with a simple “Thank you”. Prior to Pres. Trump’s public vouching, Musk had already announced on May 11 that Tesla’s plant in Fremont had resumed operations. The company plans to get at least 30% of its employees back to work by May 15. Musk himself acknowledged in a tweet he was going against Alameda County restrictions. In the same tweet, he requested that only he should be considered legally responsible for this action.
This comes after California governor Gavin Newsom released guidelines for manufacturers. These guidelines were for those who wanted to resume their production. But, the same guidelines said local governments can keep their restrictions.
Work At The Tesla Factory Resumes
Musk also expressed his appreciation on twitter for how well the factory had performed on the first days of reopening. He also sent emails to employees saying the same. He praised their commitment to Tesla’s success and desire to see the company come back to life.
Upon resuming work, employees were made to watch safety videos. This was to prepare them for working conditions amid the pandemic. The company had also issued personal disease protection in the form of masks and washing stations. The factory had also been cordoned off into several sections, separated by plastic curtains and plexiglass. All exits and entrances were equipped with thermal scanners as well.
Threats of Uprooting
Prior to reopening, Musk had told his twitter followers that Tesla is likely to move operations to Nevada or Texas. Following this move, says Musk, the company may eventually stop production in California. This will inevitably lead to layoffs of a large chunk of its 20,000 employees. There is also the matter of Tesla vehicles’ popularity amongst environmentally minded Californians.
As many refer to online car reviews for comparable performance and efficiency, Tesla has single-handedly changed the EV landscape and the buying process. Those factors altogether put pressure on Alameda County to stand down. The county has now officially stated that Tesla may resume production.
Tesla Move Not Final, Musk Says
On May 9, Musk wrote that there’s no final decision yet on whether Tesla would continue its production in Fremont. He says that this decision will depend on the government’s attitude towards the company going forward. The county is only one of the parties that Musk is currently embattled. He had been against the extent of health measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic since they began.
Musk is currently at odds with health officials, criticizing their approach in containing the disease. In a series of tweets and statements, he dismissed the disease’s contagiousness and fatality rates as exaggerated. Despite this, he had submitted his precautionary implementations to Alameda county. Officials have his current and future plans under review. He had also expressed a willingness to work with Alameda to reach a compromise.
Many industries are uncertain how their livelihoods will look once the pandemic comes to pass. However, Musk’s victory over Alameda County may influence those industries’ future moves against the strictures of lockdown.