UAW Looking To Fast-Track GM Ultium Battery Plant Unionization

The United Auto Workers (UAW) is seeking to expedite the unionization of the GM Ultium battery plants.

According to a report by Reuters, UAW president, Ray Curry, announced plans to speed up the unionization process without the need for a vote to represent the hourly workers at the Ultium plants. Curry said that the union will seek “card check” authorization, which will bypass a secret ballot vote. This process eliminates the need for an election, instead allowing plant hourly workers to sign cards in support of the union instead.

Currently, Curry says that 90 percent of workers at the Ultium plant in Ohio, where production recently began, have signed the cards. However, despite the overwhelming support, Ultium has not agreed to recognize the UAW without a vote.

GM and Ultium have since stated that they respect the workers’ right to unionize, and that they appreciate the efforts of the UAW or any other union to organize battery cell workers at their manufacturing sites. The joint venture also stated that it would adhere to a federal labor law that would protect the employees’ right to decide on the issue of union representation via a voluntary election process. In fact, GM previously showed support for UAW efforts at its Ultium plants, but did not endorse “card check” authorization.

Currently, the Ultium Cells plant in Ohio is the only active facility, although construction of several more are underway. Construction at the Ultium Spring Hill plant is progressing on schedule, having recently passed its one millionth construction hour. Production at this facility is expected to commence in early 2023. Meanwhile, construction for the Ultium Lansing plant is in progress, and production is expected to begin in late 2025.

GM and LG Energy Solution are reportedly considering Indiana for a third Ultium Cells site in the U.S., although these plans have not yet been officially announced.

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Alexandra Purcell: Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

View Comments (11)

  • Those that have a little bit of background and insight on GM can see that General Motors blatantly lies so frequently that you can’t believe a word they say.

    • And the union is 100% trustworthy and never lies? How many union officials are in prison right now due to lying and stealing from their members?

      Quite amazed that the Ohio employees are so quick to jump back in bed with the union considering how they really haven’t benefited from the union in the past.

      • True. Both should be held accountable. Glad the some of the union reps are locked up and gone. Surly there are more.
        But where is the accountability for GM? GM must be honest (lol) to at least shareholders, but we know better.
        One example is GM said they were in favor of the union at battery plants. Not sure why they said that. Maybe because the GM/UAW contract has become more of a list of restrictions and rules members must follow than a list of benefits.
        I personally would not want the UAW if all jobs were tier or GM subsystem or whatever BS name they make up. Maybe employees should seek a better union. Teamsters?

        • You consider it a lie that GM is in support of the union at the Ultium factory. What documentation or report supports that they are taking action against the union? Help educate my on what GM has lied about.

          I’d guess that GM always expected this facility (and other Ultium facilities) to vote to unionize. GM knows the protocol and they won’t fight it due to implications at other existing facilities.

          Based on past union actions, I’m surprised the employees wouldn’t try a different path than the UAW. Maybe the union is spreading more lies and the 90% that support this are believing those lies.

  • Ultium is denying the union! The average employee makes $16hr and health and safety in the plant has been well documented that it’s very bad. These machines/lines are high tech and take some time to learn not like the assembly line where u shot 4 screws!

    • $16 is starting base pay for the basic jobs. Tech and skill will be more.

      Also add in that the cost of living in this part of Ohio is the lowest in the nation. Mostly due to the lack of jobs.

      Like any plant some jobs are 4 screws some are not and not every job pays the same.

      There is nothing to document yet as the plant is not fully functioning yet and is a totally new plant.

      Let’s not be dishonest here.