Construction Workers Walk Off Site in Protest

Hundreds of union construction workers are protesting increased hiring of out-of-state workers for less pay.

📅   Tue March 01, 2016 - West Edition


Approximately 350 plumbers, carpenters, electricians, painters and others walked away from a construction site Monday.
Approximately 350 plumbers, carpenters, electricians, painters and others walked away from a construction site Monday.

The Guardian is reporting that 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.

Approximately 350 plumbers, carpenters, electricians, painters and others walked away from the construction site Monday along US 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 labor practice that undermines promises to hire mostly Nevada workers in exchange for more than $1bn in state tax breaks, James said.

“It's corporate welfare at its worst,” he told the Associated Press.

Union officials said work at Tesla's Gigafactory is increasingly being done by crews for the non-union, New Mexico-based Brycon Corp.

“Nevada's tax dollars should be used to provide jobs for Nevada construction workers, not New Mexico construction workers,” said Ted Koch, president of the northern Nevada council.

Tesla said in a statement that the electric carmaker 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 favoring out of state workers. In reality, more than 50% of the workers used by this contractor and more than 75 percent of the entire gigafactory workforce are Nevada residents, demonstrating the project's strong commitment to Nevada,” the company statement said.

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