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Tesla's friction in the heat

Tesla workers walk out to protest outsourcing, company has fallen well below hiring goal by only hiring 82 permanent employees

Brian Young's picture
Mar 01, 2016

In the Nevada dessert, Tesla is building a massive factory to build their state of the art batteries.  The factory, called the Gigafactory, is being built with $1.5 Billion in tax credits from the state.  As part of the tax credits, Tesla had to hire 700 permanent employees from the local community.  According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Tesla has fallen well below their hiring goal by hiring only 82 permanent employees. 

Now the unions that are building the Gigafactory are walking off the job, claiming that Tesla has hired an out of state contractor to speed up the building of the factory.  In retaliation the nearly 400 workers have walked out.  The union says that the New Mexico based Brycon Corp. “[Pays] $12-14 per hour, so that’s the reason for the strike.”

 "We are trying to call attention to the fact that they are using $1.4 billion in Nevada money to staff jobs with workers from New Mexico and Arizona," said Russ James, business development specialist with the Painters Union.  The tax credit also requires that half of the nearly 3,000 construction jobs go to Nevada residents.   "We know they're working for Brycon, and driving around the job site we see a lot of license plates from Arizona and New Mexico," said Todd Koch, President of the Northern Nevada Building Trades council. “We’re considering our options, but I can say, this is just the opening salvo and we’re not going to give up. Tesla hasn’t heard the last from us.”

The United Auto Workers have tried, unsuccessfully, multiple times to organize the companies Freemont California assembly line where the cars are manufactured.  While the official position of Telsa founder and CEO Elon Musk is that the company will stay neutral in an organizing effort, but in its annual report to shareholders, Tesla has described the possibility of unionization as a risk to its business.


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