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Unions are protesting today at the Tesla Gigafactory in Storey County. About 350 union workers walked off the site, according to union officials.
Eloy Jara, market representative for Laborers Local 169, said an out-of-state and non-union contractor, Brycon Corp, was paying substandard wages to employees.
“They pay $12-14/hour, so that’s the reason for the strike,” he said.
All Brycon employees went through the picket line, he added. “Most of the union guys walked out. (They) walked out of the job.”
Tesla responded that it has been following state requirements for hiring its contractors.
“Today’s activity stems from the local Carpenters Union protesting against one of the third party construction contractors that Tesla is using at the Gigafactory,” according to a company spokesperson. “Their issue is not with how Tesla treats its workers. Their issue is that of the many third party contractors that are involved in the construction of the Gigafactory, many are union but the one at issue is not.”
The site today went from 400 construction workers at the gigafactory to about 60 Brycon employees this morning, Jara said.
Tesla’s spokesperson said the company is committed to hiring Nevadans, above what’s required by state law for this project.
“The union is also claiming that this contractor is somehow favoring out-of-state workers,” said Tesla’s Todd Maron. “In reality, more than 50 percent 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.”
A request for comment was sent Brycon Corp.
“Hopefully Tesla gets the message as far as the substandard wages problem that needs to get fixed,” Jara said.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.