The United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union just announced that it has filed a petition for election with the Cleveland office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in an effort to gain official representation for the roughly 900 workers at the recently opened GM Ultium Cells plant in Warren, Ohio.
In a statement, UAW President Ray Curry said that Ultium Cells LLC had failed to recognize the UAW after a majority of workers signed cards authorizing the union to represent them.
“A majority of Ultium workers have signed cards authorizing the UAW to represent them,” Curry said. “By refusing to recognize their majority will, Ultium – which is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution – has decided to ignore democracy and delay the recognition process. Make no mistake: whether it is by card check or union election, these workers will be members of the UAW.”
The UAW previously implemented “card check” authorization as a means of bypassing a secret ballot vote, eliminating the need for an election in order to fast-track unionization at the GM Ultium Cells facility. However, despite an estimated 90 percent of workers signing the card check, Ultium declined to recognize the UAW without a vote, saying that it “respects workers’ freedom to choose union representation and the efforts of the UAW to organize battery cell manufacturing workers at [the] Ohio manufacturing site,” adding that it would comply with labor law that “protects our employees’ right to freely decide unionization through a voluntary election conducted by the NLRB.”
“Despite the UAW engaging in good faith discussions, it is clear now that the company’s strategy was to delay and deny workers union representation for as long as possible,” said Region 2B Director Wayne Blanchard. “The UAW filed the petition today so workers can get on with forming their union without any further delay.”
GM has plans to build multiple battery manufacturing facilities in the U.S. under the Ultium Cells LLC joint venture, with the Ohio plant being only the first of four facilities now in the works. Additional facilities are under construction in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Lansing, Michigan. A fourth plant may be built in Indiana.