Tesla plans to keep production going at Fremont factory, says in leaked email

Tesla doesn’t seem to plan to stop production at its Fremont factory as ordered by the Sheriff’s Office yesterday, according to an email to employees leaked to Electrek.

Since Tesla is not commenting directly to the media on the situation, we are relying on comments from county officials and emails that Tesla’s HR sends to employees and then are leaked to the media.

Yesterday, after talking to Tesla, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said that Tesla agreed to reduce its workforce at the factory to comply with the shelter-in-place order:

“They assured me in a phone call to do a stepdown reduction from about 10,000 to 2,500 people. The county is very sensitive to what they’re dealing with.”

Later, the same spokesperson reportedly told BuzzFeed that Tesla will not be allowed to produce cars at the factory with the reduced workforce.

Now in an email sent to employees last night, Tesla said that nothing has changed since yesterday and only “essential employees” need to report to work:

“As I shared yesterday, we have asked only essential employees to report to work at our Bay Area locations, while all others who can are working from home. Decreasing onsite personnel at our Fremont factory to only essential employees and allowing others to work remotely, is helping create a safer workspace while honoring our government commitment to keep our national critical infrastructure running. We are continuing discussions with government officials and promise to let you know if anything changes.”

As we reported yesterday, Tesla considers its production “a national critical infrastructure” and “essential Employees” include all “production, service and deliveries, testing and supporting groups.

Tesla added in the email:

“Contrary to news reports, there have been no layoffs!”

We couldn’t find any news reports of “layoffs”. We assume that it’s a reference to the quote from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office saying that Tesla agreed to reduce its workforce at the factory from 10,000 to 2,500.

While it seems like Tesla doesn’t plan to stop production, Tesla explains that they are making some changes in the email:

“Those of you who arrive at our Fremont factory tomorrow will see that we are handing out masks to be worn throughout the day, taking temperature prior to entry, adding more hygiene stations inside the facility, rearranging operations to promote social distancing as much as possible, and increasing cleaning frequency of all work areas. Helpful resources are housed on the EHS page on the internal site.”

Tesla has some experience running a factory while trying to not propagate the virus. The automaker was quickly able to restart its Gigafactory Shanghai in China after taking similar measures.

In the email, the company again reiterate that people can stay home if feeling sick or concerned:

“Again, if you are not feeling well or are concerned about coming into the office, please contact your manager and stay at home. We respect your decision.”

As we reported yesterday, Tesla is giving employees more paid-time off due to the situation.


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