September 1, 2020

Elon Musk isn't bluffing about moving Tesla out of California: Recode's Kara Swisher

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is defying stay-at-home orders by opening the company’s Fremont factory. He has become somewhat of a leader in the movement to reopen the economy. Kara Swisher, executive editor and co-founder of Recode, joins “Squawk Box” to discuss.

Tesla says it has started the process to resume operations and released a plan to bring its employees and contractors back to work, amid an escalating dispute with local health authorities in California over a shelter-in-place order that has kept the automaker’s Fremont factory idle during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our restart plan is the result of months of careful planning and preparation,” Tesla’s leadership said in a blog post titled “Getting Back to Work.” “It was modeled after the comprehensive return to work plan we established at our Shanghai Gigafactory, which has seen smooth and healthy operations for the last three months.”

Tesla workers are currently scheduled for shifts this week in Fremont to manufacture Model 3, S and X vehicles, according to company correspondence reviewed by CNBC. Those shifts were scheduled before CEO Elon Musk threatened Saturday to pull Tesla out of California in a dispute over the Fremont factory shutdown.

Tesla has filed a lawsuit against California’s Alameda County, asking a federal court to invalidate orders by local authorities that have prevented the automaker from resuming production.

Tesla argues in the company blog post that the Fremont factory falls under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s essential workforce guidelines and should resume production because it is critical national infrastructure.

“Contrary to the Governor’s recent guidance and support from the City of Fremont, Alameda County is insisting we should not resume operations,” Tesla’s leadership said in the blog post. “This is not for lack of trying or transparency since we have met with and collaborated on our restart plans with the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.”

Alameda County authorities could not be immediately reached for comment.

Each Tesla facility has a back-to-work plan and a response team, which includes a physician, is establishing health and safety guidelines based on location and job-specific risk assessments, according to the company. In some cases, partitions and barriers have been added to minimize employee interactions.

Tesla’s re-opening plan outlines several safety guidelines and protocols for Tesla workers, including increasing cleaning and disinfection in work areas; enforcing social distancing; controlling access to facilities and imposing temperature checks at some locations.

“We are taking the time we need to get our personnel properly trained before they begin work and all employees must complete an online video training before returning to work at any Tesla facility,” the company said.

The company will also adjust work shifts to control the number of people in one work space and cut shuttle occupancy in half. The company says it will provide personal protective equipment to workers and implement touchless services for people who have direct contact with customers.

Tesla workers who can work from home will continue to do so but those needed for essential operations in the production facilities will come back to work gradually.

Employees returning to work will complete a self-health checklist each day. Workers that show symptoms are directed to stay home, according to the plan.

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  • this lady could not be more wrong, this is the american way this is not in any way an isolated move

  • Awwwwwwww MSNBC liberals and Wall Street babies don’t like Trump and Elon Musk. The establishment never likes change. They have it corrupted just the way they want it.

  • Good for Elon Musk! If the California Governor does not get his head out of the political game then Tesla should leave California – forever.

  • Elon Musk is pretty cool! I would work for that guy! Move to Missouri. St Charles, Missouri doesn’t have a lockdown.

  • I know people love cars out there but I don't and for one reason.. they are the ugliest machines every created on planet earth.. and tesla has done none better.. look at those mechanical bugs.. yeeech!! How come they don't make vehicles that look cool or even pretty or cute?!?!? Cars are boring, plain, wretched to look at and they are all over our cities.

  • Kara seems, in tis interview, to be dropping her tech journalism hat and shifting into commentary. Seems pretty clear she likes Elon's chutzpah, a lot, and the vibe I get is "yeah I hope he DOES leave CA, that'll teach Alameda County a thing or two". I get it, she's always been drawn to the geniuses of silicon valley. But she's essentially saying Alameda County was trivially dicking around with him, as though public safety shouldn't apply to him, and the world needs to part the sea for his temperament, or face the consequences.

    I don't know, I deeply respect Kara for her morality as much as anything else in her abilities to wrangle SV CEO's and get them on the record saying stuff they'd rather not say. She's so skillful in her persuasiveness. But here, I don't know. I think if — and this would be highly unlikely — her young son were working on the frontlines at Tesla in Fremont, her tone would be different. And to that extent, she seems very removed from working people, almost like they don't exist on her radar.

  • Ellon is right in this situation. My buddy works for a clothing company in California. There warehouse was never shut down. Those clothes were not essential at all during shut down. They don't do work clothes. They remained open, while a Tesla which is more essential then that clothing company was shut down. I hope other companies see this type of behavior and put California's Governor out of a job.

  • Covid is a hoax – it is JUST ANOTHER FLU… keep your stupid death vaccines – my family will never take that BS. Fake news can go to hell to.

  • Tesla is looking to close up shop in California so can open up in another operation with fewer employees in exchange for robots

  • Dr. Foutch e as well as the mainstream media both Fox News and the liberal media, do not give facts. They say, there may be, or there might be, X number of deaths. So far there predictions have been drastically wrong. These are the facts. Economist say that we are now headed towards a depression. Get no one in the mainstream Media Fox nor MSNBC, have you even mentioned that 7 million people have died of starvation during the last depression. That is a death rate of almost 7%. It is my opinion, that doctor felci North mainstream media Care about the people. All of them seem to have some kind of agenda.

  • Maybe direct all future investments to Texas or Nevada but rip up assembly lines and move them? Come on.

  • Have you wondered why in this modern world where we have instant video conferencing with less than 1sec delay yet the media somehow can't get a system with less delay

  • The county is doing the right thing telling him what to do in the best interest of everyone if Tesla's people go back to work and someone get sick and happens to die the state won't be pulled into that lawsuit because they did all that they could to stop Tesla from reopening and now they're trying to continue to put some distance between themselves and Tesla but at the same time provide some level of guidance for the company.

    To answer the question 'what can the county do' the county more than likely issued a permit or license I'm not sure which one, but either way they can revoke it which would shut down the company there, they can also petition the state to revoke their license which would shut down the company. So the county has many options.

    If Tesla is operating in violation of the order the actions are reckless and irresponsible and if someone dies because of it it will be worth at least 10 million dollars

  • he is a 19th century robber barron in the mold of Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan. They were on a mission, too

  • We aren't harder hit. WTF, go look up the data lady. I live in Fremont, we haven't been hit at all compared to many other urban areas, especially Detroit.

  • Most California politicians are absolute idiots. The put illegals, social justice, and the homeless ahead of keeping profitable businesses in the state. Hard to understand.

  • Musk gives so much of a crap about Trump, he replied to his tweet with…
    Thank you…
    A real ground swell of support there from Musk! hehe

  • The lack of consequences that the system imposes on that manchild will impose a lotta burdens on all of us.

  • Between California taxation EPA standards and a bunch of bureaucrats wasting everybody's tax money alone should move

  • If Tesla decides to leave California how many of his best and brightest do you think will want to go with him. Muck doesn’t make Tesla he is just a figure head the brains below him do. Do you think many of them will want to move from California to Texas? I am sure there are plenty of Apple and Google recruiters calling Tesla’s best employees right now.

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