Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla is pissed right now when the Alameda County health officials cautioned the company against reopening its California factory in Fremont. That led to Musk tweeting that the company would sue the county and even move its headquarters out of the state.
And yeah, Tesla’s attorney did filed suits in US District Court in the Northern District of California seeking an injunction against the county’s shelter-in-place order as it “contradicts the Governor’s Order to the extent it restricts the operation of business operating in the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”
“Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately,” Musk said on Twitter. “The unelected & ignorant ‘interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!”
Just so you know, Elon Musk wasn’t totally in support of the shelter-in-place measure since the beginning of the lockdown back in March. He had even called this move as being fascist an undemocratic. “We are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk,” Musk said. He also urged supporters on Twitter to “please voice your disagreement as strongly as possible with Alameda County.”
But an Alameda County spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge on Saturday that the county Health Care Services Agency and Public Health Department have been communicating directly and working closely with the Tesla team on the ground in Fremont. This has been a collaborative, good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla’s factory.”
The spokesperson also said that the team at Tesla had been responsive to guidance and recommendations “and we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon.” The statement, issued several hours after Musk’s tweets, did not reference the Tesla CEO’s comments or mention him by name.
“We appreciate that our residents and businesses have made tremendous sacrifices and that together we have been able to save lives and protect community health in our region,“ the statement continues. “It is our collective responsibility to move through the phases of reopening and loosening the restrictions of the Shelter-in-Place Order in the safest way possible, guided by data and science.”
Initially, the electric car maker had announced that it was resuming limited operation at its Fremont facility yesterday which was only going to bring in 30% of its workforce whereby the rest had to stay furloughed. But officials in Alameda County, where Fremont is located, said yesterday that it was still under a shelter-in-place order and that Tesla it didn’t meet its criteria to reopen. “We have not said that it’s appropriate to move forward,” said Erica Pan, Alameda County’s health officer, according to Bloomberg.
The company had unsuccessfully tied to argue its production of Electric cars to be considered critical infrastructure as the California state Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday that the state-level guidance allowing manufacturing to resume some production didn’t supersede county-level restrictions.
The Fremont plant had been closed down since March 23rd while only maintenance workers are those who ensure the plants are in shape for the production of cars such as the Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y vehicles when the shelter-in-place order is finally lifted off.
The order had saw the company furloughing its workers as well as cutting salaries of those it cannot furlough. But the big question is what would happen to its 10,000 workers at the Fremont plant if the company really decides to move its operation out of the state even though we’re not sure if that would be the case.
Tesla and Musk had settled with Security and Exchange Commission back in 2018 over Musk’s tweet of taking Tesla private but then the terms were renegotiated back in the year 2019 under which a company lawyer must approve Musk’s tweet about certain parts of Tesla’s business before Musk can make those tweets public. That includes any announcement that would trigger a filing of the form 8-K, which is used for announcing unscheduled material events, to the SEC. As of this writing, Tesla has not filed an 8-K about Musk’s proposed factory move.
Tesla did not reply to a request for comment.