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Hundreds walk off Tesla job in Nevada labour dispute


Mar. 4, 2016 – Hundreds of union construction workers walked off the job at Tesla Motors’ battery manufacturing plant in northern Nevada this past Monday to protest what union organizers say is the increased hiring of out-of-state workers for less pay, according to The Associated Press.

Approximately 350 plumbers, carpenters, electricians, painters and others walked away from the construction site Monday along U.S. Interstate 80 about 25 miles east of Reno, said Russell James, District 16 business development specialist for the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada.

More than 100 picketed outside the main gate against what they say is an unfair labour practice that undermines promises to hire mostly Nevada workers in exchange for more than $1 billion in state tax breaks, James said.

Tesla said in a statement that the electric car-maker is in compliance with all state requirements. It said many of the contractors at the site are union, but “the one at issue is not.”

“The union is … claiming that this contractor is somehow favouring out of state workers. In reality, more than 50 per cent of the workers used by this contractor and more than 75 per cent of the entire gigafactory workforce are Nevada residents, demonstrating the project’s strong commitment to Nevada,” the company statement said.

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— With files from Scott Sonner, The Associated Press