Car manufacturer Tesla makes electric cars in China, Germany and the U.S. The company has come under severe criticism for its “full self-driving” mode in its vehicles. Tesla vehicles have been involved in 273 crashes, of which six were fatal and five resulted in severe injuries, over a nine-month period between 2021 and 2022. Telsa’s factories reported 10 times more safety violations than Nissan, despite the fact that Nissan built something like 10 times as many cars over the same time period.
Tesla has benefited from several billion dollars in government incentives such as a $1.3 billion tax break in Nevada. One of the most unsustainable components of a Tesla vehicle (and all electric cars) and power storage systems are the batteries, notably the use of cobalt, lithium and nickel, which are mined under horrific human rights conditions. The company buys cobalt from Glencore’s copper mine in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is alleged to use child labor. It buys nickel from the Vale mine in Voisey's Bay in northern Labrador, Canada, which has long been opposed by the native Innu and Inuit people as well as from sites in China and Indonesia with serious environmental pollution problems.
Electric cars and trucks, battery energy storage, solar panels and solar roof tiles.
Tesla was profiled as part of the report "Green" Multinationals Exposed: How the Energy Transition is Being Hijacked by Corporate Interests.
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(November 7, 2023)
- A People's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area by Alexander Tarr & Rachel Brahinsky (2020)
- Analysis of Tesla Injury Rates: 2014 to 2017 by Work Safe (2017)
Other Key Sources
- Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's profile on Tesla Motors - UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is an NGO that employs researchers on five continents who work with activists, companies and governments alike to advance human rights in business by eradicating abuse.
Morgan Meaker | WIRED | November 2, 2023
The union’s members are threatening the blockade in support of workers at Tesla’s Swedish repair shops, who do work for Tesla and who have been on strike since last Friday. They walked off the job to protest the company’s refusal to sign a collective agreement with the union that represents them, IF Metall.
Victoria Waldersee | Reuters | October 9, 2023
Tesla workers at the carmaker's Brandenburg plant are joining the IG Metall union in rising numbers over concerns around health, safety and overwork, the union said on Monday. Lack of staff and inadequate safety provisions in the workplace were leading to a high number of accidents at work, and it was not rare that around 30% of workers were signed off sick, the union said in a statement.
Brenda Goh, Zhang Yan and Casey Hall | Reuters | January 7, 2023
Hundreds of Tesla (TSLA.O) owners gathered at the automaker's showrooms and distribution centres in China over the weekend, demanding rebates and credit after sudden price cuts they said meant they had overpaid for electric cars they bought earlier.
Germany: Grünheide Citizens' Initiative against Tesla: "We're fighting the richest man in the world"
Christoph Richter | Deutschlandfunk Kultur | January 5, 2023
People are protesting against Tesla on the market square in Grünheide. The Grünheide Citizens' Initiative sees the electric car factory as a danger to the environment.
Nicholas Maronese | Driving | August 30, 2022
A website apparently set up by a group of Norwegian Tesla owners says its members plan to stage a hunger strike to get the attention of CEO Elon Musk, so that he can address a long list of issues that have come up with their cars.
Tiyashi Datta | Reuters | July 25, 2022
Dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have sent an open letter to Elon Musk, urging the Tesla Inc's (TSLA.O) chief to not invest in Indonesia's nickel industry on environmental concerns.
Christopher F. Schuetze & Jack Ewing | New York Times | July 22, 2021
The vast pale gray factory with its own exit on the autobahn, surrounded by a pine forest east of Berlin, was supposed to be producing shiny new Teslas by now. Instead it has become a manifestation of what happens when Silicon Valley ambition collides with German procedure.
Automotive News Europe | April 20, 2021
Tesla looks to be coming under increasing pressure in China with two government entities firing off missives about the company’s behavior and treatment of its customers in a single day.
Russia: Tesla urged to respect Indigenous rights in supply chain by not sourcing from Norilsk Nickel
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre | September 22, 2020
Over 70 NGOs have signed on to a letter urging Tesla to respect Indigenous rights in its supply chain, by not sourcing nickel mined by Nornickel (Norilsk Nickel), until the company makes effort to address the minimum standards set out by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
United States: Frustrated protesters outside Fremont Tesla factory want to see CEO Musk put behind bars
Elissa Harrington | FOX KTVU | May 16, 2020
They accuse Musk of putting workers in harms way by sending them back to work during the pandemic.
Jennifer Elias | Silicon Valley Business Journal | October 24, 2017
Following firings at Tesla, employees rallied outside of its Fremont Factory claiming they were unfairly fired.
California Labor Federation | August 31, 2017
Earlier this month, CEO Elon Musk boasted about Tesla’s plans to sell the new Model 3 to a half a million customers. He said Tesla would go through “production hell” to complete these orders. “Production hell” in the c-suite looks very different than “production hell” on the factory floor, where rate of injury is 31% higher than the industry average according to a Worksafe report this year.
NBC News | February 29, 2016
Hundreds of union construction workers walked off the job at Tesla Motors' battery manufacturing plant in northern Nevada on Monday to protest what union organizers say is the increased hiring of out-of-state workers for less pay.
- California Labor Federation
- Consumer Watchdog
- Friends of the Earth United States
- International Rights Advocates (IRA)
- Laborers Union Local 169
- More Perfect Union
- Tesla Deaths
- Tesla Workers United
- The Center for Auto Safety
- United Auto Workers (UAW)
- United Public Workers for Action (UPWA)
- Workers Defense Project
- Workers Solidarity Action Network
- Association for Nature and Land in Brandenburg (VNLB)
- Center for Protection Against Unfair Competition
- Green Liga
- Grünheide Citizens’ Initiative
- Nature Conservation Association (NABU)
- IF Metall - Sweden
- Swedish Transport Workers’ Union
- Tesla Hunger Strike - Norway
- The Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI)
Janie Har | AP News | June 7, 2023
Tesla may face a class-action lawsuit after 240 Black factory workers in California described rampant racism and discrimination at the electric automaker’s San Francisco Bay Area plant, including frequent use of racial slurs and references to the manufacturing site as a plantation or slave ship.
Karandeep Oberoi | Mobile Syrup | February 28, 2023
The class action was filed in a San Francisco federal court, with the shareholders saying that the company has defrauded them over the course of the past four years. The technologies in question are suspected as a possible cause of fatal crashes, and capable of causing “a serious risk of accident and injury.”
Labor Press | Stephanie West | November 27, 2022
Construction workers at a Texas Tesla “gigafactory” have filed a complaint and case referral with the Federal Department of Labor. Serious labor and employment violations came to light after whistleblowers at the plant said the electric car manufacturer’s violations left them vulnerable to injuries and wage theft.
Al Jazeera | July 1, 2022
The harassment, which occurred mostly at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, included using the terms “nigger”, “slavery” or “plantation” or making sexual comments such as “likes booty”, the lawsuit said, adding that the car maker’s “standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination”.
Jon Brodkin | ARS Technica | June 23, 2022
A lawsuit filed by laid-off Tesla workers accused the company of violating federal law by failing to provide notice before the layoffs and said the former employees are entitled to 60 days of pay and benefits.
Katia Porzecanski | Al Jazeera | November 19, 2021
Former Tesla employee claims she experienced ‘nightmarish’ sexual harassment conditions and that managers failed to act on her complaints.
Sebastian Klovig Skelton | Computer Weekly | November 5, 2021
The lawsuit against Alphabet, Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla was originally filed in Washington DC in December 2019, by human rights group International Rights Advocates, on behalf of 14 families who accused the technology firms of knowingly aiding and abetting – and subsequently benefiting from – forced labour practices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
United States: Tesla employee’s firing and Elon Musk tweet on union were illegal, labor board rules.
Noam Scheiber | The New York Times | March 25, 2021
The National Labor Relations Board on Thursday upheld a 2019 ruling that Tesla had illegally fired a worker involved in union organizing and that the company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, had illegally threatened workers with the loss of stock options if they unionized.
Tesla Takes Legal Action Against Chinese News Outlet Over Report Of 'Sweatshop' Conditions At Shanghai Gigafactory: Global Times
Gary Anglebrandt | Yahoo! News | January 17, 2021
Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) is taking legal action againt a Chinese tech media outlet called PingWest that earlier reported of harsh working conditions and quality control problem at Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory.
Lora Kolodny | CNBC | July, 14, 2020
Tesla Germany is now banned from including “full potential for autonomous driving” and “Autopilot inclusive” in its advertising materials, Reuters reported.
United States: Lawsuit: Tesla Fired Exec After He Raised Concerns About Workplace Injuries Going Unreported
Ryan Felton | Jalopnik | June 11, 2018
Tesla has been dogged by reports that it fails to report serious workplace injuries on legally-mandated logs, and now the automaker’s former safety director is claiming in a lawsuit that he was fired in retaliation for raising concerns about the alleged practice.
Sam Levin | The Guardian | October 19, 2017
Exclusive: A factory worker says he was harassed for being gay. A father and son say they faced daily racial epithets. Each claims that Tesla failed to stop it.
Dake Kang, Victoria Milko & Lori Hinnant | AP News | August 9, 2022
[Rare earths] end up in the supply chains of some of the most prominent companies in the world, including General Motors, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Tesla and Apple. But an AP investigation has found that their universal use hides a dirty open secret in the industry: Their cost is environmental destruction, the theft of land from villagers and the funneling of money to brutal militias, including at least one linked to Myanmar’s secretive military government.
Sufferings of Residents and Environment behind the Business Transactions of Tesla and Chinese Companies in Indonesia
JATAM | August 10, 2022
The activities of PT Bintang Delapan have triggered flash floods, caused two people to die, and hundreds of houses and government buildings, as well as public facilities were badly damaged in three villages namely Dampala Village, Le Le Village, and Siumbatu Village, Morowali on June 8, 2019.
Al Root | Barron's | June 29, 2022
CDP, a nonprofit global environmental-disclosure system for investors, called out more than 1,400 companies Wednesday for not disclosing enough about how their operations affect the environment.
Germany: A month after opening, 15,000 liters of chemicals leaked from Tesla coating facility - organizations call for clarification
Thorsten Metzner | Tagesspiegel | April 19, 2022
Chemicals leaked from the coating facility - an area located inside the drinking water protection area - of the Tesla factory in Grünheide, which opened a month ago.
Business Insider Germany | February 23, 2022
The environmental associations Nabu and Green Liga have sued. They want to challenge a permit from the Brandenburg State Environment Agency allowing for water extraction, which is particularly important for the Tesla plant.
Hyury Potter | The Intercept | February 17, 2022
Tesla, Amazon, Dell, and Starbucks have likely purchased gold from the scandal-ridden family business of Sylvain Goetz, who’s been convicted of fraud.
Audrey Carleton | VICE | August 16, 2021
The company’s claims convey an image of a totally tightly-controlled in-house recycling system, in which old Tesla batteries are used to make new Tesla batteries. But experts in lithium-ion battery recycling told Motherboard the reality isn’t that simple.
United States: Tesla to pay $750k fine and build solar microgrid system to settle California air quality violations
Kim Lyons | The Verge | May 8, 2021
Tesla has agreed to pay a $750,000 fine and install a solar roof project to settle air quality violations at its Fremont, California plant, officials announced Friday.
David Fickling | Bloomberg | February 17, 2021
At a time when most major companies are working on plans to cut their carbon emissions, one of the darlings of green investing is working to increase its emissions footprint.
Sissi Cao | Observer | February 21, 2020
A German court has given Tesla the green light to cut down trees at its Gigafactory site.
United States: Tesla In Settlement Proceedings Over 19 Air Quality Violations As Investigation Continues
Edward Niedermeyer | The Drive | June 6, 2019
Tesla has received 19 notices of violation (NOV) from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and "legal settlement proceedings" are underway, the regulator told The Drive today.
United States: 'Retaliation': Tesla Fires Buffalo Workers Day After Musk Was Informed of Union Drive
Kenny Stancil | Common Dreams | February 16, 2023
Tesla fired dozens of workers at its factory in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday, one day after an organizing committee at the plant sent an email to billionaire chief executive officer Elon Musk informing him of their new unionization campaign.
United States: Teslas using driver-assist systems were involved in 273 crashes over the past 9 months, according to NHTSA
Matt McFarland | CNN | June 15, 2022
NHTSA found that of the 367 driver-assist crashes reported, there were six fatalities and five serious injuries.
Elon Musk Has Lots To Say About Workers At Tesla–Which Continues To Lead U.S. Carmakers In Safety Violations
Alan Ohnsman | Forbes | June 6, 2022
He’s expressed hostility to remote work, demanded that executives spend at least 40 hours a week at the office and floated the idea of firing 10% of Tesla’s workforce because he has a “super bad feeling” about the direction of the economy. At the same time, Tesla continues to lead all carmakers in workplace safety violations, racking up more infractions and fines in the past three years than all other automakers in the U.S. combined.
United States: Tesla monitored its employees on Facebook with help of PR firm during 2017 union push
Lora Kolodny | CNBC | June 2, 2022
Two things that MWW PR watched closely for Tesla were discussions on social networks alleging unfair labor practices at Tesla, and about a sexual harassment lawsuit, according to the documents describing their work.
Tesla: Workers in Shanghai must sleep on factory floor as China restarts production in 600 companies amid draconian Covid measures
City A.M. | April 19, 2022
Shanghai’s Tesla factory workers have to sleep on the floor of the factory, as Elon Musk’s company restarts production and China continues a draconian covid policy.
Pete Pattison | The Guardian | November 8, 2021
The Guardian has tracked the cobalt supply chain from TFM and other industrial mines through a number of refiners and battery makers to some of the world’s leading electric car manufacturers, including Tesla, VW, Volvo, Renault and Mercedes-Benz.
United States: Tesla factory had more than 400 COVID-19 cases after Elon Musk's defiant reopening: report
Mike Murphy | MarketWatch | March 14, 2021
Hundreds of COVID-19 cases were reported at Tesla Inc.’s production plant in Fremont, Calif., after it reopened last May in defiance of local health regulations, according to a new report.
Nick Statt | The Verge | December 29, 2020
The report says Lens Technology — a gadget glass supplier to companies like Amazon, Apple, and Tesla — has used thousands of such workers as part of the Chinese government’s ongoing detention and forced labor campaign against people of the Uighur minority.
China: Giga-Sweatshop Meets Corporate Overlords: an Exclusive Look Into How Tesla China Runs its Shanghai Gigafactory 3
Chen Du & Aron Chen | Ping West | December 25, 2020
Such high-intensity production soon wore out the vision that many workers in Tesla's Shanghai factory once had towards their jobs and the company. Simultaneously, the rapidly shrinking benefits and increasingly harsh working conditions eventually made many had enough.
United States: Leaked Tesla emails tell the story of a design flaw discovered in 2012 in the Model S battery that could lead to breakdowns and fires
Linette Lopez | Business Insider | June 25, 2020
Leaked emails from 2012 reveal that Tesla knew its Model S battery had a design flaw that could lead to break downs and fires, but it sold the cars anyway.
Sam Levin | The Guardian | April 13, 2018
“In terms of settlement, we are willing to pay Mr. Lambert [redacted], but only if we are to resolve this matter before there is media attention, preferably within the next few hours,” the Tesla general counsel, Todd Maron, wrote to the worker’s lawyers last year.
Robert Ferris | CNBC | May 18, 2017
Fainting spells, dizziness, seizures and other symptoms have led to more than 100 calls to ambulances since 2014, according to incident reports obtained by the Guardian.
Open Secrets - Tracks corporate lobbying of US politicians.
Cecilia Jamasmie | Mining.com | March 2, 2023
Tesla executives met last month with Chilean authorities, including the ministers of foreign affairs and mining, as well as representatives for the country’s development agency Corfo, as the electric cars maker redoubles efforts to secure supplies of battery metals, particularly lithium.
Akash Sriram | Reuters | August 9, 2022
Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) is lobbying the Ontario government as part of an effort to set up an "advanced manufacturing facility" in Canada, a filing by the electric-vehicle maker to the province's Office of the Integrity Commissioner showed.
Carolina Kyllmann | Clean Energy Wire | July 26, 2023
U.S. car manufacturer Tesla will have to revise its plans to expand its gigafactory for electric cars in the German state of Brandenburg over concerns the new buildings would be partly located in water protection zones, newspaper Tagesspiegel reported.
Brett Wilkins | Common Dreams | February 16, 2023
Electric automaker Tesla on Thursday announced it is recalling more than 362,000 vehicles due to their full self-driving software's potential crash risk, adding to the woes of billionaire CEO Elon Musk, whose recently acquired Twitter is beset by operational and financial troubles.
Simon Alvarez | Teslarati | February 2, 2023
While testifying on Wednesday, Sam Teller, Elon Musk’s former chief of staff, stated that the Tesla CEO had a “handshake deal” with representatives from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund before the infamous “funding secured” tweet was posted on Twitter. Teller had worked closely with Musk from 2014 to 2019.
Doug Bailey | The Business of Business | May 3, 2022
Certainly to the layman, the Tesla/SolarCity deal seems fraught with familial conflicts, secret negotiations, bad faith communications, and deceptive practices. SolarCity, after all, was founded by Musk’s cousins.
Nico Hecht | RBB 24 | March 25, 2022
After the opening of the Tesla factory in Grünheide (Oder-Spree), the dispute over the approval of the plant enters a new round. The Brandenburg Green Liga and Nabu have lodged an objection to the permit with the State Office for the Environment.
Rory Carroll | The Guardian | July 3, 2018
One complaint is that tax credits given to Tesla – and to a lesser extent other tech companies – deplete public services, resulting in potholed roads, overcrowded schools and insufficient affordable housing. The other is that the tech worker influx has sent rents rocketing, tipping residents on fixed incomes, especially seniors, into penury.
Alfie Habershon | Asia Financial | October 15, 2022
China gave Tesla tax breaks for two of its models after Elon Musk recommended that China should “figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan,” Taiwan News reported.
Ariel Zilber | New York Post | May 5, 2022
...But the fact that Tesla shares were worth less when Musk sold them compared to when he first bought them means that the world’s richest person could get a tax break of between $400 million and $700 million, CNN reported on Thursday.
Business Standard | February 16, 2022
Tesla Inc. would need to commit to sourcing at least $500 million of auto components from India for the electric carmaker’s request for an import tax cut on its vehicles to be considered, a person familiar with the government’s thinking said.
United States: Elon Musk faces a $15 billion tax bill, which is likely the real reason he’s selling stock
Robert Frank | CNBC | November 7, 2021
Tesla CEO Elon Musk faces a tax bill of more than $15 billion in the coming months on stock options, making a sale of his Tesla stock this year likely regardless of the Twitter vote.
United States: The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax
Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen & Paul Kiel | ProPublica | June 8, 2021
ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.
Royalesq | January 7, 2021
To date, the Musk Foundation has donated over $260 Million – most of it attributed to Tesla stock donated by Elon Musk. In other words, Elon Musk has legally and presumably, gladly, reduced his taxable income/assets by over $200 million.
Bob Sechler | Transport Topics | July 15, 2020
The tax breaks are worth a minimum of about $14 million over 10 years if the company invests $1.1 billion in the area.
Michelle Toh & Serenitie Wang | CNN | September 2, 2019
The tax break was announced the same day Musk met with Chinese Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng, according to a statement posted on social media by the Transport Ministry.
Ted Sickinger | The Oregonian | October 11, 2018
The state of Oregon has clawed back $13 million from SolarCity and its accountant after investigators determined the cost of 14 commercial-scale solar projects had been inflated more than 100 percent to qualify for higher state tax credits.
Greg LeRoy & Maryann Feldman | The Guardian | July 3, 2018
First, the too-many-eggs problem: hi-tech firms are prominent among recent tax-break “megadeals” awarded by cities and states. Tesla’s battery factory ($1.3bn from Nevada), Foxconn’s display-screen plant in Wisconsin ($4.8bn) and Apple’s data centre in Iowa ($214m) are typical.
Sandra Chereb | Scientific American | September 12, 2014
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a package of bills on Thursday to provide $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives for Tesla Motors, putting a bow on the deal for the electric car company to build a massive factory in the state.
Brandon Turkus | Auto Blog | December 18, 2013
Tesla Motors' plans to expand just got a big boost, as the state of California has announced it will give the Palo Alto-based company a $34.7 million tax break to increase its production capacity.
CorpWatch is still gathering procurement data on Tesla at this time.