Tesla has failed to reach job creation benchmarks it agreed to with New York state, but the company said it's not to blame.
In a new jobs report, Tesla said it had far exceed its obligation to create 1,460 jobs in New York state prior to the governor and president ordering non-essential business to shut down in March. The company concluded some of its jobs were deemed essential but its solar operation was not.
"This directly impacted the vast majority of jobs at Gigafactory New York," Tesla Treasurer Yaron Klein said.
As a result, the company reported that as of April 30, there were 474 jobs created at the Buffalo facility and 352 additional jobs across the state. The report is in line with what the company said during its own investors call last month.
Also not a surprise, the company said it has applied for a one-year deferral of its contractual requirements, through a COVID relief program Empire State Development is offering all businesses with which it works. Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, said he has no problem with the extension given the circumstance, so long as the rest of the terms remain the same.
"We can kick the can down the road. We know we took them offline for nearly three months and we know it’s not like a light switch where you can just turn it back on and their whole supply system is back online," Ryan said.
Prior to the partial economic shutdown, Tesla said there were 1,834 employees working in the Buffalo facility alone, although that number included 376 Panasonic employees who are supposed to be gone by the end of this month.
The company said it has also begun to expand its production again since Phase 1 began in Western New York two weeks ago. It did not say how many employees have been hired back.
Ryan said he's had some conversations with Tesla about at what capacity it can safely operate.
"The engineers are looking at the factory. How can they restart production and stay socially distanced from each other? So they're trying to figure that out," he said. "Every factory in New York state is doing these same exercises. You see a lot of factories coming back slowly."
According to the report, Tesla has invested more than $250 million in the state over the last year and more than $635 million total.