Tesla gearing up to using old NUMMI site

Schwarzenegger has even made a personal order himself.
October 20, 2010 6:27:50 PM PDT
The word is Tesla is starting to gear up for production in Fremont next year and they have started by hiring.

Tesla will only say they are hiring, but the Wall Street Journal reports the car company has hired 70 workers since May.

Craig Palmquist with the NUMMI Re-Employment Center says that number does include some laid off NUMMI employees.

"I understand they are hiring a lot from engineering and those types of areas as they getting ready for production," he said.

Past NUMMI workers say they hadn't heard of the new hires.

"I couldn't tell you the actual numbers of union members that have been hired back. My position is that they hire our people back in the line of seniority," former UAW Local 2244 President Sergio Santos said.

That might be a long shot because Tesla's workforce will be minuscule compared to that of NUMMI. At the time the plant closed last April NUMMI employed 4,700 production workers and Tesla is only expected to eventually employ 1,100.

"There production is only looking at 20,000 as what I understand, and that plant produced 120,000 units. So you are looking at 15 percent of the workforce," Palmquist said.

Tesla says they have been actively moving production equipment in from Detroit, but there was no sign of it. It is a harsh reality for 2,500 former employees who are actively re-training and looking for new jobs.

Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman knows there's no turning back the clock at the old NUMMI plant.

"To say that we are going to be making cars here again is really tough. If that happens great, but I don't see that happening other than electric cars," he said.

Tesla will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony next Wednesday at 5 p.m. and they will announce more of the plans for the facility.


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