Workers are speaking out against racist workplace practices at the Tesla facility in Buffalo, NY. 

Tesla Gigafactory 2 is operating today because of a massive investment of public money. Tesla was given $750 million in taxpayer money to build it’s solar production facility located in Buffalo, New York, totaling 1.5x more than the entire City of Buffalo’s annual budget. 

Employees’ recent statements document racist favoritism and racist harassment in the plant, including instances of racially coded language and slurs. Highly qualified employees of color are routinely overlooked for opportunities and promotions, while white employees who are unqualified, including those with documented histories of racist harassment in the workplace, are being advanced along to supervisory positions.

The experiences of Buffalo workers mirror experiences across the country. Workers in Tesla’s Fremont facility reported threats, racist graffiti, humiliation and barriers to employment. Elon Musk’s previous response to the widespread racist abuse across his facilities was to write a company-wide email suggesting employees “not to be huge jerks” while also blaming victims, urging them to “be thick-skinned” and “accept apologies.” This strategy of denial and minimization of harm is used to avoid responsibility and justifies future violence. This failure to acknowledge the real problem of rampant racism in the workplace, or offer any meaningful support or recourse to employees of color, is unacceptable.

We commend the courage of workers to come forward and expose Tesla’s discriminatory practices. We know that exploitation, institutional racism, and job abuses are maintained by political and corporate structures that preserve power and wealth for select few. Public money should not be allowed to subsidize businesses that promote a culture of white supremacy. 

Tesla needs to acknowledge the workplace culture of racism and discrimination, end the abuse, and repair the harm done to workers of color  in their facilities. We call on New York State and the Federal Government to hold Tesla accountable. 


More former Tesla workers confirm hostile workplace at Buffalo facility