Tesla Opens Fremont Factory As Protestors Rally Outside | KALW

Tesla Opens Fremont Factory As Protestors Rally Outside

May 18, 2020

Protestors rallied outside of Tesla’s Fremont factory on Saturday. This comes after the electric car manufacturer reached a deal last week with Alameda county to keep its factory in Fremont in operation.

The past week has been full of contentious posturing between Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and public officials. At one point, Musk threatened to move the Fremont factory to either Las Vegas or Texas. He also opened the plant last week in defiance of Alameda County’s shelter in place law and then dared the government to arrest him.

The deal reached with the county would allow Tesla’s 10,000 factory employees to legally return to work at the plant today. But protestors say they aren’t buying it.

Steve Zeltzer is a spokesperson for United Public Workers for Action, a worker's rights organization that helped organize the protest. He says, "If he is able to get away with this, which he’s doing, that says to every other employer: 'you can flout the laws, you don’t have to follow the laws.'"

According to a press release from Alameda County, Fremont police will be responsible for ensuring that Tesla workers have the protections they need to stay safe. Zeltzer says that doesn’t make sense.

"What training and education do the Fremont police have about health and safety conditions? Are they trained to understand how workers need to be protected from a pandemic? I don’t believe so and we don’t believe so."

Tesla says that it has necessary safety measures in place, including temperature checks and policies for sick employees. With this most recent deal, Tesla has the support of the city of Fremont, Governor Newsom, and now Alameda County to continue operating.