Coronavirus: Workers group to demand Tesla give more safety information

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Tesla workers coming off the night shift at the Fremont, Calif., factory on March 17, 2020. - Russ Mitchell/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Demonstrators have planned a rally outside of Tesla’s Fremont factory Monday as part of an effort to gain more information about reports that some Tesla workers have tested positive for coronavirus since the plant reopened in late May.

A group called the Workers Solidarity Action Network (WSAN) said it would gather outside the north gate of Tesla’s Fremont plant at 2 p.m. to demand that Tesla provide stronger protections for its production line workers, publicly divulge what it has learned about employees that have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and close the plant for 24 hours to thoroughly clean the facility.

WSAN said it is also calling upon Gov. Gavin Newsom to send officials from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to inspect Tesla’s factory to ensure the company is compiling with safety and sanitation guidelines.

Last week the Washington Post reported that some Tesla employees had tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to work after the plant’s manufacturing operations were shut down for two months as part of the multi-county shelter-in-place rules mean to slow the spread of coronavirus across the region.

Neither Tesla, nor CalOSHA immediately responded to a request for comment.

Last week Lauren Selby, Tesla’s head of worker safety, sent an email to company employees saying that the company knew of some employees who had contracted coronavirus from outside the workplace, but there had been no transmissions from contact between workers at Tesla’s factory.

Tesla employs approximately 10,000 people at Fremont. In May, the company got approval from Alameda County health officials to restart vehicle production at its plant after Chief Executive Elon Musk earlier opened the plant in violation of the shelter-in-place rules that were put into effect in March.

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©2020 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)