Elon Musk’s Ultimatum to Tesla Workers: Violate State Lockdown Order or Don’t Get Paid

Tesla CEO Elon Musk who has tweeted about vague plans to take the company private
Getty/Robyn Beck

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is opening his Fremont, California, plant and has reportedly told workers they can choose to violate California’s stay-at-home orders or be placed on “unpaid leave.”

VICE News reports that Elon Musk’s Tesla plans to open its plant in Fremont, California, and has told workers their options are to violate the state’s stay-at-home orders and come to work, or stay home and forgo payment and benefits.

In an email obtained by the Guardian from Tesla’s management to its workers, the firm stated: “Choosing not to report to work may eliminate or reduce your eligibility for unemployment depending on your state’s unemployment agency.”

Tesla workers told the Guardian that they feel that Tesla’s management is using intimidation tactics in order to force them to return to the job by threatening to cut their pay and unemployment benefits.

Musk announced plans to re-open the Fremont plant on Monday, stating in a tweet: “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

Breitbart News recently reported that Tesla has sued local authorities for attempting to enforce shutdown orders. In a post to the company blog on Saturday, Tesla stated that the county’s position had left it no choice but to take legal action to ensure that Tesla and its employees could return to work.

The firm stated that it had worked out a return-to-work plan including online video training for personnel, work zone partition areas, temperature screening, protective equipment requirements, and rigorous cleaning protocols.

The firm alleged that it had contacted health authorities in Alameda County but had not received a response. Alameda County’s Public Health Department stated on Saturday that it had been “communicating directly and working closely with the Tesla team,” but did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Tesla has since filed a lawsuit against the county in San Francisco federal court calling the continued restrictions a “power-grab” by the county since California’s governor had said on Thursday that manufacturers in the stated could begin to reopen. However, Alameda County is scheduled to remain shut until the end of May with only essential businesses allowed to reopen, Tesla is not considered an essential business by the county.

Musk stated in a tweet: “If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen (sic) on how Tesla is treated in the future.” Alameda County stated on Saturday that it had been working with Tesla to develop a safety plan that “allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees” that work at the Fremon facility and hoped to come to an agreement on a safety plan soon.

Reuters now reports that Musk is in contact with Texas Governor Greg Abbott about a potential move of Tesla’s assembly plant to the Lone Star state. Abbott claims to have spoken with Musk about the possibility of relocating and stated during an interview with the Wichita Falls CBS affiliate that he thinks Texas is a perfect fit for Tesla.

“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Elon Musk and he’s genuinely interested in Texas and genuinely frustrated with California,” Abbott said. “We’ve just got to wait and see how things play out.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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