Tesla sued Alameda County on Saturday when an electric vehicle manufacturer tried to reopen its factory there, but was banned.
Tesla is the last major automaker in California and the largest manufacturing employer in the state, with more than 10,000 employees at their Fremont factory and 20,000 in the state. The company published an appeal in which it made it clear that it understands the impact of Covid-19 and is responsible for ensuring the livelihoods and security of its personnel, many of which rely on them and have not been working for several weeks from due to the impact of shelter-in-place orders.
Due to the fact that Alameda County and its interim public health officer, Dr. Erica Pan, said that health orders to contain a Covid-19 outbreak in the region are still in place, and that Tesla does not have a “green light,” to resume vehicle production at its main US car plant in Fremont, California, Tesla asked a federal judge to allow an electric vehicle manufacturer to reopen its factory.
Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant “Interim Health Officer” of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
I’m not messing around. Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
In addition, Tesla has published an extensive plan on how it is planned to ensure the safety of its employees. The company has experience in Giga Shanghai, so it can successfully apply all the developed approaches to work at its plant in the US during the outbreak of Covid-19.
The company filed its suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking an injunction against the county's order and arguing, in part, that the local government had overstepped its authority by overruling the California governor's approval for businesses to reopen.
"Alameda County's power-grab not only defies the Governor's Order, but offends the federal and California constitutions," Tesla said in the lawsuit.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday began detailing how the state would begin phasing in the reopening of some businesses starting the following day, including manufacturing.
In the lawsuit, Tesla said that its facilities in Lathrop, which is part of nearby San Joaquin County, continue to operate, saying both counties have experienced a similar infection and death rate. "This disparate treatment is arbitrary and without a rational basis," the lawsuit said.
Some states in the US have already eased restrictions. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday said auto makers and parts suppliers in that state could resume operations on Monday. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plan to resume production on May 18 at plants across North America.
Tesla, which has experience working under the conditions of Covid-19, will be able to most safely resume its activities. Musk previously noted that none of the 7,000 employees of Giga Shanghai died from this virus.
Exactly! Tesla knows far more about what needs to be done to be safe through our Tesla China factory experience than an (unelected) interim junior official in Alameda County.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.