Fremont applauds new Tesla Factory

May 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The city of Fremont has been struggling. A taqueria right across the street from the NUMMI plant says its business is down 20 to 30 percent since the plant closed. With the same news all over the city of Fremont, Thursday's news is really being celebrated.

Allen Williamson never thought he would be celebrating Thursday night. His plan was to grab a few beers to commemorate the end of his 21-year career at the NUMMI plant.

"Actually tomorrow's my last day," said Williamson.

But just as he and a few other employees finished closing up the plant, came the big announcement that Tesla will be moving in.

"Yeah totally surprised, didn't see it coming," said Williamson.

The news spread quickly around Fremont. Former NUMMI worker Bobby Dell said he received 100 calls and texts from former co-workers and friends and is ecstatic.

The owner of City Beach, Cary Rider, said his mom called him with the exciting news. His bar and restaurant was a popular after work hang out for NUMMI workers.

"She held the microphone to the TV so I could hear this was actually going to come back to Fremont, so I was pretty excited about it, so I ran upstairs to tell everybody, so we're all excited about getting some more action," said Rider.

"The news that I heard this morning was very, very good news," said Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman.

Wasserman says he talked with dozens of companies about moving in to the plant, but nothing was panning out.

"It was looking very bleak. We lost all those employees, there's some amount of income that was lost as a result of that, so it wasn't looking good," said Wasserman.

Tesla's CEO says he has already hired a lot of NUMMI workers and will continue to add about 50 people a month. He says a total of 1,000 workers will eventually be hired.

"I'll apply for a job, sure. I've been there 21 years," said Williamson.

The Tesla CEO says he doesn't know yet whether these workers will be union represented. He said he won't encourage or discourage union activity. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but to businesses like the taqueria, they say the big question has been answered -- business will be picking up in Fremont again.


Load Comments