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.
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