Workers at GM’s Ultium Cells battery plant in Ohio are set to vote in a representation election next month as the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union moves to unionize GM’s electric vehicle efforts.
Per a recent report from The Detroit News, which cites a filing made by the National Labor Relations Board, the vote will take place December 7th and 8th. The Ultium Cells battery manufacturing facility in Warren, Ohio is the first of four new battery cell facilities planned for the U.S. under Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between GM and South Korean technology company LG Energy Solution. Two additional Ultium Cells plants are under construction in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Delta Township, Michigan, with a fourth tipped for construction in New Carlisle, Indiana.
Per The Detroit News, the transition to an all-electric portfolio is the most strategic issue that the UAW currently faces, according to labor studies professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, Tom Kochan.
“The drivetrain engine production was quite labor intensive, and particularly among production workers,” Kochan told The Detroit News. “Those jobs will change dramatically in the electric vehicle production.”
During the recent GM Investor Day event, GM CEO Marry Barra addressed the issue of labor unionization as the automaker made the switch to EVs, noting that she had voiced her support for unionization at the Ultium Cells plants in the past.
“With where our employees are at today, it’s a good middle-class wage,” Barra told investors. “We’ll work through the negotiations and manage that and manage the overall cost, like we do every time.”
The UAW filed to unionize workers at the newly opened Ultium Cells facility back in October. At the time, UAW President Ray Curry stated that Ultium Cells LLC had failed to recognize the UAW after a majority of workers at the facility signed cards authorizing the union to represent them. The Ultium Cells plant in Ohio employees roughly 900 workers.