‘Let Tesla open the plant NOW’: Donald Trump tweets support as Elon Musk orders California factory staff back to work despite closure order as he dares governor to arrest him and threatens to move plant to income tax-free Nevada or Texas
- President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday: ‘California should let Tesla and @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely’
- Tesla reopened its Fremont plant Monday against orders from local authorities
- Alameda County officials said the facility should remain closed until June
- Musk dared authorities to arrest him for resuming production on Twitter
- Tesla sued the county on Saturday, claiming officials ignored Gov Gavin Newsom’s allowances for the transportation industry to continue operating
- Musk threatened to move Tesla’s headquarters from California to Texas or Nevada in a move that could save him billions of dollars of income tax
- The CEO has been railing against California’s ‘fascist’ stay-home order for weeks
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
President Donald Trump has voiced his support for Elon Musk after the Tesla CEO reopened his main California plant in defiance of the state’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
‘California should let Tesla and @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely,’ Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning.
Musk announced on Monday that he had resumed production his facility in Fremont ‘against Alameda County rules’ which had ordered it remain closed until June to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
‘I will be on the line with everyone else,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.’
The controversial move to reopen comes as the latest salvo in an ongoing war between Musk and Alameda County, after Tesla filed a lawsuit against local officials on Saturday for ordering the Fremont facility to close.
Musk called the order ‘super messed up’ in a separate tweet Monday, claiming that ‘all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out’.
The eccentric billionaire has been railing against California’s stay-home order for the past two weeks since Tesla posted its first-quarter earnings on April 29.
He called the restrictions ‘fascist’ and demanded that governments ‘give people back their goddamn freedom’.
President Trump voiced his support for Elon Musk on Twitter Tuesday after the Tesla CEO reopened his main California plant in defiance of the state’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions
Musk confirmed Monday that Tesla has resumed production at its plant in Fremont, California, in defiance of the state’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The parking lot outside the plant is seen nearly full on Monday afternoon, even though local officials told the automaker to keep the facility closed through the end of the month
Employees are seen entering the Fremont facility on Monday. Sources said that Tesla threatened to fire them if they refused to return to work amid the lockdown
Alameda County was among six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area that were the first in the nation to impose stay-at-home orders in mid-March. The Fremont plant was closed on March 23 as a result.
Last Friday, county officials extended the order until the end of the month. And on Saturday, Musk announced that Tesla had filed a lawsuit against the county which sought to overturn the order.
In the same rant, Must threatened to move Tesla’s manufacturing operations and headquarters to another state.
Tesla’s lawsuit argues that Alameda County cannot be more restrictive than orders from Gov Gavin Newsom. It says Newsom’s coronavirus restrictions refer to federal guidelines classifying vehicle manufacturing as essential businesses that are allowed to continue operating.
Newsom, for his part, has repeatedly said that counties can impose restrictions that are more stringent than state orders.
Hours before the lawsuit was filed Alameda County officials said they were working with Tesla to come up with a plan to reopen.
However, both parties said that they did not come to an agreement before the Fremont plant resumed production on Monday.
Semis loaded with new Tesla vehicles departed the Fremont facility on Monday, raising suspicion that they may have been produced before the shutdown
A worker exits a Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle at the automaker’s primary vehicle factory after Musk announced he was defying local officials’ coronavirus restrictions by reopening the plant
A worker descends from the top deck of a car carrier trailer carrying Tesla electric vehicles at Tesla’s primary vehicle factory on Monday
Three employees told Business Insider that Tesla asked staff to return to the facility on Monday with phone calls and text messages.
If they refused, they risked losing their jobs, the sources claimed.
Employees were seen reporting to the plant before sunrise on Monday in footage from local media outlet KPIX.
Within hours, the parking lot was nearly full at the plant – which employs 10,000 workers – and semis were seen driving off loaded with vehicles that may have been produced before the shutdown.
The Verge reports the company has since completed work on around 200 Model Y and Model 3 vehicles.
The Alameda County Health Department issued a statement warning Tesla on that it was in violation of the county health order on Monday, and said it hoped the company would ‘comply without further enforcement measures.
The department said it expected Tesla to submit such a plan by 5 pm Monday.
‘We look forward to reviewing Tesla’s plan and coming to agreement on protocol and a timeline to reopen safely,’ the statement read.
It’s unclear whether the automaker met that deadline – or how local authorities planned to respond if it didn’t.
Alameda County Sheriff Sgt Ray Kelly said Monday that any enforcement of the order would come from Fremont police.
Geneva Bosques, Fremont police spokeswoman, said officers would take action at the direction of the county health officer. She referred further comment to the health department, where a DailyMail.com request for comment has not yet been returned.
Asked about the conflict between Tesla and Alameda at his daily press briefing, Gov Newsom said he expected the automaker to be able to reopen the plant sometime next week.
‘My understanding is they have had some very constructive conversations,’ Newsom said during a video press conference.
‘My belief and hope and expectation is as early as next week, they will be able to resume.’
Alameda County ranks seventh in the state for number of cases with more than 2,100 coronavirus as of Tuesday, including 71 deaths.
Statewide, nearly 69,350 cases and at least 2,779 deaths have been confirmed.
New Tesla electric vehicles are seen in a lot at the Fremont plant. It’s believed they were produced prior to the plant’s closure on March 23
A worker loads Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles onto a transport truck on Monday
Adding to the chaotic reopening was the fact that Tesla had just appointed a new head of production at the factory.
An internal email obtained by Tech Crunch informed employees that Richard Miller, formerly director of paint operations at Tesla, had been promoted to lead production.
‘Due to excellent performance as head of paint operations in Fremont, Richard Miller is hereby promoted to overall head of Fremont Production. Congratulations!’ the email reads.
It appears that Miller replaces Jatinder Dhillon, who was manufacturing director before he reportedly left the company a little over two months ago, per CNBC. However, Dhillon’s LinkedIn profile indicates he is still in the same role.
Tesla has not responded to DailyMail.com’s requests for comment about the leadership shake-up.
Tesla said it implemented strict safety measures prior to reopening the plant
Elon Musk appears to have reopened a Tesla plant in Fremont, California, in defiance of local coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Employees are seen outside the plant on Monday
Workers are seen chatting in the parking lot outside the Fremont plant on Monday afternoon
A worker sweeps up trash in the newly-filled parking lot outside Tesla’s Fremont plant
Alameda County (above in yellow) ranks seventh in the state for number of cases with more than 2,100 coronavirus as of Tuesday, including 71 deaths
Nearly 69,350 cases and at least 2,779 deaths have been confirmed in California
Under the state’s shelter-in-place orders, only essential business are permitted to operate in California.
State law allows a fine of up to $1,000 a day or up to 90 days in jail for operating in violation of health orders.
Musk has consistently pushed for Tesla to be considered essential, routinely voicing his frustration over the continued shutdown of the company’s biggest plant over the last few weeks.
The CEO said the shutdown should be viewed as a ‘serious risk’ to Tesla’s business during an April 29 conference call, and then went on profanity-laden rant about how the shutdowns were antithetical to America’s founding principles.
Two days later Musk went on another rant via Twitter in which he said he believes Tesla’s stock is ‘too high’ and vowed to sell off almost all of his physical possessions.
Musk, 48, announced the birth of his son with singer Grimes on Tuesday. He shared this photo of himself holding the newborn in his arms, telling fans the baby is called X Æ A-12
The rant caused Tesla’s share price plummet more than 10 percent by $14billion – wiping $3billion of his personal wealth.
Musk made headlines again last week as he announced that his singer girlfriend Grimes had given birth to their son X Æ A-12.
By Thursday he switched back from Dad mode to work mode as he told Tesla employees that the Fremont plant would resume ‘limited operations’ and bring back 30 percent of shift workers under Newsom’s latest reopening plans.
But on Friday, Alameda County officials announced that the plant would not be allowed to reopen as they extended restrictions through the end of the month.
Tesla filed its lawsuit against the county the following day, claiming that it ignored Newsom’s allowances for ’16 crucial infrastructure industries,’ including transportation, to continue operating.
Musk revealed the legal action on Twitter, threatening to move the automaker’s headquarters to another state.
‘Frankly, this is the final straw,’ the billionaire tweeted. ‘Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.
The Fremont plant was shuttered by local health officials on March 23
A truck hauling new Tesla vehicles is seen leaving the Fremont facility on Monday
How moving Tesla HQ from California to Nevada or Texas could save Musk BILLIONS
Elon Musk could save billions of dollars in taxes if he moves Tesla from California to Texas or Nevada, reports claim.
The CEO threatened the move over the weekend after suing state officials for shuttering his facilities during the coronavirus crisis.
‘This is the final straw,’ Musk tweeted Saturday. ‘Tesla will move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.’
If he were to follow through on that threat by moving from a state with the highest income tax rate in the country to one without income tax – like Nevada or Texas – he could save billions of dollars in taxes over the coming years, according to CNBC.
In the hours after Musk’s warning, Texas and Nevada politicians clambered to offer the billionaire sanctuary in their states.
His latest compensation program may be playing a factor in his threats.
Though not awarded yet, the package has earned him $708million in its latest sum, which would see him pay California $104million.
If he moved to Texas or Nevada, he would avoid the 13 percent tax rate and keep all of the cash.
Over time, the package is expected to earn Musk $55billion and California would take a cut of $7billion.
If he moves to an income tax-less state, he wouldn’t have to cough up a cent.
‘If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sic] on how Tesla is treated in the future.’
In response, officials in Alameda County said they were interacting with the company in good faith and working to balance business needs with the safety of the local area.
‘The team at Tesla has been responsive to our guidance and recommendations, and we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon,’ a statement from the county said.
‘We need to continue to work together so those sacrifices don’t go to waste and that we maintain our gains. 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.’
In a blog post on Saturday, Tesla said the county’s position left it no choice but to take legal action to ensure the company and its employees can go back to work.
The company said it had worked out a thorough return-to-work plan that includes online video training for personnel, work zone partition areas, temperature screening, requirements to wear protective equipment and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
The company said it had informed health authorities in Alameda County about its restart plans, but claimed the acting official did not return calls or emails.
Tesla’s lawsuit called the continued restrictions a ‘power-grab’ by the county since California’s governor had said on Thursday that manufacturers in the state would be allowed to reopen.
Alameda County is scheduled to remain shut until the end of May, with only essential businesses allowed to reopen. It does not consider Tesla to be an essential business.
Employees said Tesla asked workers to return to the facility with phone calls and text messages. If they refused, they risked losing their jobs, the sources claimed (pictured: An unmasked employee heads towards the Fremont Tesla plant)
Under the state’s shelter-in-place orders, only essential business are permitted to operate in California. State law allows a fine of up to $1,000 a day or up to 90 days in jail for operating in violation of health orders
FOUR STAGES TO REOPEN CALIFORNIA
Stage one: Safety and Preparedness
Staying home and flattening the curve. Building out testing, PPE, and hospital capacity. Making essential workplaces as safe as possible. Preparing sector-by-sector guidelines for a safe re-opening.
CURRENT – Stage two: Lower Risk Workplaces
Gradually re-opening some lower risk workplaces with adaptations.
This will include: Retail (e.g. curbside pickup), manufacturing, offices (when telework not possible) and more public spaces
Stage three: Higher Risk Workplaces
Gradually re-opening some higher risk environments with adaptations and limits on size of gatherings.
This will include: Personal care (hair salons, nail salons, gyms), movie theaters, sports without live audiences and in-person religious services
Stage four: End of Stay-At-Home Order
Re-opening the highest risk parts of our economy once therapeutics have been developed.
This will include mass gatherings such as: Concerts, convention centers and live audience sports
Musk’s harsh words against Alameda officials were met with mixed reactions from other leaders.
Fremont Mayor Lily Mei expressed concern about the potential economic implications of continuing the shelter-in-place order without provisions for manufacturers such as Tesla to resume.
Mei on Saturday urged the county to work with businesses on ‘acceptable guidelines for re-opening’.
On Monday, US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin told CNBC the state should do ‘whatever [is] needed’ too allow Tesla to reopen.
One Democratic lawmaker in the state, however, had a much less flattering message for the CEO.
‘F**k Elon Musk,’ San Diego assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted Saturday.
Gonzalez’s statement drew both praise and condemnation, particularly from people who pointed out the number of job losses if the Tesla factory moves.
Meanwhile, Texas and Nevada Republicans were quick to embrace Musk’s plans.
‘Texas gets better every day. Good conservative principles make good governance, and attract the best and the brightest. The future is happening in Texas,’ Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw tweeted Saturday.
Nevada congressional hopeful Dan Rodimer tweeted: ‘Nevada NEEDS these jobs most of all right now, @elonmusk. We would love to have you and Tesla HQ right here in the Battleborn State!’
San Diego assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez did not hold back her feelings about Elon Musk’s tweet stating that he would move Tesla’s headquarters out of California to Texas or Nevada
Meanwhile, Texas and Nevada Republicans were eager to embrace his decision to move
TESLA’S EMAIL TO STAFF IN FULL
The State of California released new guidelines today permitting certain critical infrastructure including manufacturing to gradually resume operations.
This includes Tesla’s Fremont factory and supporting manufacturing facilities. Additionally, Alameda County, where the Fremont factory is located, states in its shelter in place order FAQs that distributed energy resource manufacturing, which includes electric vehicles, solar, and battery storage, is permitted to operate.
I know many of you are excited to get back to work, as we are too, and I am confident we are well-prepared to do so safely and in alignment with all government precautions.
At all facilities, we’ve enhanced our already robust safety strategy in accordance with our Return To Work Plan, which we have reviewed extensively with Alameda County, and you will be receiving a video training from EHS which we ask you to complete promptly when assigned.
It is critical that you comply with and follow all required safety protocols. If you do not follow these protocols you will be sent home on Unpaid Leave. If you are sick or have concerns with safely coming to work, please stay home. You may use your available PTO or if you have none, may take the time as unpaid without penalty. We respect your decision.
Starting tomorrow, May 8, 2020, limited operations will resume at the Fremont factory starting at 30% our normal headcount per shift. You will be contacted via email or phone by your manager or HR with details on your specific start date and time.
Our Gigafactories in Nevada and New York have also begun limited operations as approved by their respective states. Similarly, Sales, Service and Delivery as well as Energy operations have been gradually coming back online on a state-by-state basis.
If you are an hourly California employee and we were required to cash out your PTO under California law due to the furlough extension, you will be given the same number of unpaid days off as your accrued, unused PTO.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your HR partners or [e-mail redacted] with any questions.
Thank you for all you do to ensure the success of our company!
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