Workers at the Tesla factory in Fremont are planning a protest Thursday over alleged mistreatment during the coronavirus pandemic, accusing Tesla of firing workers who refuse to work over COVID-19 concerns.
Employees also say that Tesla CEO Elon Musk covered up an outbreak at the plant. They want the facility shut down for a deep cleaning, and, among other demands, they are asking the Alameda County Health Department to do contact tracing instead of Tesla performing this function, as they allege is the case now.
The employees will protest Thursday at noon outside the Alameda County Health Department in Oakland.
On Wednesday, three former employees said they were fired after accepting Tesla’s offer to stay at home over fears of being exposed to the virus.
When Musk defied a health order and reopened his factory in May, he sent a letter to his employees, telling them that if they felt uncomfortable returning to work they were not obligated to do so.
The Washington Post reported that by the end of June, Tesla told the workers they had abandoned their jobs and fired them. One of the workers has a 1-year-old son with respiratory problems, another is caring for an aging family member and the third worker’s fiancée had recent heart surgery and suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Tesla hasn’t responded, but according to the paper did say at a public hearing in Texas last week that it is not true that they fired those employees.
Forbes has reported that Tesla is now the most valuable car company in the world, with a market cap of over $185 billion.