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Trouble in Elon Musk - Land : Construction Workers at Tesla Battery Factory Walk Out

 

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Trouble in Elon Musk - Land : Construction Workers at Tesla Battery Factory Walk Out

Tesla Union Workers Stage Walkout On Nevada Site Amid Labor Dispute

Hundreds of union workers in Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada staged a walkout on Monday amid the company's alleged controversial hiring practices.

By Peter de Jesus | Mar 01, 2016 05:00 AM EST

Tesla Motors

Hundreds of union workers in Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada staged a walkout on Monday amid the company's alleged controversial hiring practices. (Photo : Getty Images)

About 350 union workers in Tesla Motor's battery manufacturing plant in northern Nevada staged a walkout on Monday over allegations that Nevada workers are losing jobs to out-of-state workers who work for less pay.Russell James, District 16 business development specialist for the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada, stated that the walkout was a prominent sign of protest against Tesla contractor Brycon Corp.'s labor practices, which involved the hiring of workers from Arizona and New Mexico.

According to James, Brycon's strategy is simply a means for the company to save money since workers from other states might be more willing to accept lower wages than those residing in Nevada.

"They simply are going out of state because they can pay them less money. Most of the guys from out of state probably have no health insurance and no pension benefits, so that alone could be a difference of $10 an hour even if you pay the same wages," James said.

James' colleague, Todd Koch, who acts as the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada, took the issue further, saying that Brycon's decision to hire more out-of-state workers was an insult to Nevada's labor force. "It's a slap in the face to Nevada workers to walk through the parking lot at the job site and see all these license plates from Arizona and New Mexico," he said.

Responding to the issue, Tesla Motors has stated that the work being done at the company's $5 billion, 10-million-square-foot Gigafactory was being done completely within the limits of state laws, and that the contractor involved in the dispute is operating with 75 percent of its workers coming from Nevada, far above the 50 percent required.

"Today's activity stems from the local Carpenters Union protesting against one of the third-party construction contractors that Tesla is using. Their issue is not with how Tesla treats its workers," Tesla said in a statement.

The Gigafactory being constructed in Nevada is set to play a huge part in Tesla's thrust towards its domination in the clean and renewable energy market. Some of its most important products, such as the Powerwall battery for homes, are set to be built in the Nevada plant.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval have also agreed on a deal which promises that about half of the factory's estimated 6,500 permanent jobs would be granted to Nevada citizens.

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