On Monday, hundreds of Nevada Tesla Motors workers walked off their jobs at the giant battery factory that the company is building in the desert outside Reno, Nev. It wasn’t your typical picket: They weren’t protesting bad working conditions, or making a show of force around contract negotiations. Rather, they were protesting other workers — specifically, the fact that they were from New Mexico and not Nevada.
“Tesla got $1.4 billion in tax incentives to promote Nevada’s construction sector, not New Mexico’s,” said Todd Koch, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada.
That’s only half true, though. Tesla and Panasonic, its partner in building the $11 billion “gigafactory,” only have to satisfy a 50% local hiring requirement in order to win the billions in tax breaks Nevada offered it to get the factory. According to the most recent audit, 68% of the workers on the project are from Nevada — even though contractor Brycon Construction is, indeed, based in New Mexico.