Elon Musk is finally getting his wish of being able to re-open his facilities around the U.S., scoring a huge blow against what he called "fascism" on the company's latest three ring circus conference call.
Unfortunately, while good news for Musk, it's not all good news for his employees. Case in point: after re-opening the company's Buffalo plant, one employee has tested positive for COVID-19, making them the fourth Tesla employee in the U.S. to test positive, according to The Verge.
News of the test was shared with employees last week and Tesla found out about it during the week of May 18 to May 22. An employee for Panasonic, which shares the space with Tesla, tested positive back in March, prior to the shutdowns.
Tesla re-opened the Buffalo facility on May 19th after New York gave the region the green light. The factory is not back at full production, however, and "won't be for a while" due to the 984 full-time workers it furloughed.
The plant says it'll move forward with less than 500 employees for the time being. At the same time, Tesla has brought back many furloughed workers in California and Nevada after those factories re-opened. The company hasn't responded to inquiries as to why it is doing things differently in New York.
The furloughs also place Tesla under the threshold for jobs it must maintain to qualify for state funding of the factory. Tesla told the state that it would exceed the 1,500 job requirement prior to the pandemic. Now, it has asked the state for another year to meet its goals. Tesla must pay $41.2 million back to the state if it doesn't meet its jobs threshold.
And while Tesla distributed a letter this past week informing its California staff that they still need to show up for work even if it means violating recent curfews put it place to quell the George Floyd riots, the same effort doesn't appear to be a priority at the company's Buffalo plant.
Musk had said in April that Tesla was "gaining momentum with Solar Roof before COVID essentially shut us down, both from the ability to install and the ability to get permits."
We can't help but wonder if Musk has finally found his scapegoat to ditch the long-ignored Buffalo solar panel factory.