Some Tesla factory employees still had to work after the production shutdown


Local officers have confirmed that Tesla stopped making electrical automobiles in California on Monday, March 23rd, in compliance with a shelter-in-place order introduced on by the novel coronavirus pandemic. But dozens of employees needed to report back to the corporate’s automotive manufacturing unit to complete processing the ultimate batches of automobiles this week, in response to an electronic mail to a few of these employees obtained by The Verge and the account of one of many manufacturing unit’s staff.

This comes as Tesla confirmed the primary two circumstances of COVID-19 amongst its workplace workforce on Thursday, in response to one other electronic mail that was considered by The Verge after it was first reported by Business Insider and Electrek. Tesla can be making its first workforce cuts through the pandemic, briefly shedding some employees in Norway, an electrical car stronghold.

The electronic mail to manufacturing unit staff, despatched forward of the manufacturing shutdown, knowledgeable a few of these “end of line” employees that they’d need to hold reporting to the automotive plant to run high quality checks, make fixes, and cost and prep the automobiles for supply. Tesla administration, they had been instructed, primarily needed all departments that work on a automobile after it comes off the manufacturing line to maintain reporting to the manufacturing unit till the automobiles had been out for supply. The present worker, who was granted anonymity as a result of they feared retribution, confirmed many of those employees reported to the manufacturing unit all through this week.

A spokesperson for the native police division instructed The Verge that it “conducted a visit and inspected Tesla [on Wednesday] and found their current level of operation to be in compliance” with the shelter-in-place order. “Their vehicle assembly line has stopped and they have only a small number of employees in the factory. They have also gone to great lengths to implement social distancing measures,” they mentioned.

Factory employees had been additionally instructed within the electronic mail that they wouldn’t obtain the paid go away Tesla has promised till their very own departments lastly shut down. Any employees who didn’t really feel properly or felt uncomfortable coming to work had been inspired to make use of accrued paid time without work or take unpaid go away, which was the corporate’s steering earlier than the shutdown was introduced final week.

The present manufacturing unit employee mentioned Tesla’s finish of line course of often takes just a few hours for a automobile with “moderate issues.” But in addition they mentioned the corporate completed manufacturing on Monday with an elevated variety of automobiles thought of to be “work in progress,” which, subsequently, required extra finish of line work.

Cars coming off the manufacturing strains of legacy automakers often full finish of line checks in a matter of minutes, in response to Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Navigant Research. Tesla didn’t reply to questions concerning the finish of line employees or the workers who examined constructive for COVID-19.

Tesla had stored the Fremont, California manufacturing unit open final week, even after the shelter-in-place order took impact within the San Francisco Bay Area on March 17th. The firm had simply began delivering the Model Y, its fifth electrical automobile, and was in the course of a typical end-of-quarter push to make and ship as many automobiles as doable.

At the identical time that CEO Elon Musk was underplaying the specter of the coronavirus, nearly each different main automaker suspended manufacturing operations within the United States following a deal between Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and the United Auto Workers union. Tesla, which is the most important automaker within the US with out a unionized workforce, did inform a few of its white-collar employees to work remotely if doable final week whereas the manufacturing unit remained open.

The firm finally introduced on March 19th that it could adjust to the Bay Area order and shut down operations on the California manufacturing unit the place the Model 3, Model S, Model X, and now the Model Y are assembled, and it agreed to scale back the workforce there to “basic operations” like processing payroll. Tesla introduced that very same day that it could additionally pause operations at its photo voltaic panel manufacturing unit in New York, however that the Gigafactory in Nevada would hold working, regardless of the governor asking all nonessential businesses to close.

It’s presently unclear which workplace the 2 contaminated Tesla staff work in. Laurie Shelby, who runs Tesla’s environmental, well being, and security division, mentioned within the electronic mail that the 2 staff “had been working from home for nearly two weeks” earlier than they examined constructive for COVID-19. Shelby mentioned the workers didn’t present signs of the illness whereas they had been within the workplace and that their “direct coworkers, who were already working from home for nearly two weeks as well, were immediately notified so they can quarantine and watch for symptoms.” Both staff are “quarantined at home and recovering well,” Shelby wrote.

Tesla briefly shut down its latest manufacturing unit in China earlier this 12 months as a part of a government-mandated effort to suppress the unfold of the virus. But Musk tweeted on Wednesday that he plans to reopen the New York manufacturing unit “as soon as humanly possible” as Tesla joins within the effort to assist improve the manufacturing of ventilators, that are essential to treating the worst signs of COVID-19.