The coronavirus outbreak has led to the shutting down of many small and big factories. The one we are going to be talking about is the Tesla factory in California.
A dispute over the reopening of California Tesla factory might be coming to an end finally. So what is the complete issue and where has it finally reached? Let’s know that in details.
What was the controversy about?
The controversy, as you must have figured out, was all about the reopening of the Tesla factory in California. The controversy started when Tesla decided to reopen its factory in California on Monday.
The Tesla manufacturing plant in Fermont opened on Monday, defying the orders of the Health Department. It warned the company on Monday that it was operating in the violation of the county health order.
The Health Department further said that the county hoped Tesla will comply without further enforcement measures until a site-specific plan required by the state was approved by the county.
Orders of the Alameda County
Alameda County was one of the firsts to impose stay-at-home orders in mid-March to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Governor Gavin Newsom had said many times that counties were allowed to impose more stringent restrictions than that of the State in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Although the lockdown in the San Francisco Bay area has been extended until the end of the May, counties have decided to allow manufacturing and limited business from May 18.
May 18 also happens to be the day when Detroit automakers plan to reopen auto assembly plants.
United Auto Workers union represents about 150,000 hourly US workers of Detroit automakers. This union has already negotiated for added safety precautions when they reopen their manufacturing business.
Tesla doesn’t have any union similar to this and hence had done no negotiation with the county over the safety of the workers. And this is where the problems arose.
How Tesla reacted
Tesla’s factory in Fremont employs about 10,000 workers and it reopened on Monday, continuing its operations into Tuesday.
Although the company met its Monday deadline of submitting a site-specific plan to protect worker safety, the reopening still defied orders from the Health Department.
The Health Department declared the factory to be a non-essential business. It said that the company can not operate under the current restrictions that are intended to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
In response, Tesla had sued the Alameda county and threatened to move the manufacturing operations and headquarters from the state.
Tesla countered in the lawsuit that Alameda county can not be more restrictive than the orders from the State governor Newsom. The lawsuit referred to the governor’s coronavirus restrictions.
The federal guidelines have classified vehicle manufacturing under the essential businesses that allow their proper functioning.
Later on, Tesla released its site safety plan for the workers’ safety. The plan includes wearing masks and gloves, maintaining social distancing and installing barriers between workers.
Although earlier reluctant to do so, Tesla later agreed to check employee temperatures before boarding a company bus to get to the work.
The dispute should be over now
The dispute earlier seemed to be getting serious, with Tesla threatening to move its factory from the state. The issue finally seems to be settling down now.
The response of the Alameda County Public Health Department seems to be the end of the dispute. The department, on Wednesday, announced o Twitter that Fremont, California plant will be able to function as long as it delivers on workers safety precautions that it agreed to.
The release said, “We will be working with the Fremont PD to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed-upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production.”
It isn’t clear from the press release if Tesla will face any punishment for defying the county orders.
Let’s hope that the dispute over the reopening of California Tesla factory has finally settled down. We hope that workers will be safe as they work in the factory.
Until next time!