Tesla has filed a lawsuit against California’s Alameda County for not allowing the company to reopen one of its factories. Threats to move to neighboring states have followed as the tension escalates.
The firm’s Fremont factory has not been in operation since March 23 as County chiefs ordered the plant to remain closed to comply with social distancing measures.
Tesla boss Elon Musk alleges that the shutdown order violates the fourteenth amendment and ignores California Governor’s March order that allows businesses in “16 crucial infrastructure industries” to continue working during the outbreak.
In a loaded weekend tweet, Musk said:
“The unelected & ignorant “Interim Health Officer” of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!”
Tesla is seeking a permanent injunction that would invalidate the County’s order for its Fremont factory to remain closed. Musk continued with an immediate threat to move its facility to Texas or Nevada, adding that his company is the last car maker left in California.
“Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”
The Alameda County Health Care Services Agency responded to the threat with a statement saying that the agency has been “communicating directly and working closely with the Tesla team on the ground in Fremont”.
It added that it hopes to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees.
California assemblywoman, Lorena Gonzalez, did not respond so diplomatically with a tweet on Sunday simply saying ‘F*** Elon Musk’.
At the time of writing it had almost 90,000 ‘likes’ and had been re-tweeted 8,400 times.
Gonzales continued to state that Latino communities have been the hardest hit in the state, adding;
“California has highly subsidized a company that has always disregarded worker safety & well-being, has engaged in union busting & bullies public servants.”
Musk simply responded with ‘Message received’, which he had pinned to the top of his feed, as the tweet battle continued to rage.
The billionaire Tesla chief executive has emerged as arguably one of the loudest voices in corporate America advocating for the economy to reopen. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death toll in the US remains the highest globally at almost 80,000 according to the John Hopkins University tracker, and it is showing no signs of slowing down.