New UAW President Says There Is ‘No Excuse’ For Non-Unionized Detroit Three EV Plants

New United Auto Workers (UAW) president Shawn Fain recently said there is “no excuse” for automakers to set up electric vehicle manufacturing facilities in Detroit without unionized workforces.

Fain vowed to do whatever is necessary to meet UAW objectives during upcoming contract negotiations with GM, Ford, and Stellantis later in 2023, per Reuters reporting.

The UAW president zeroed in the hourly $16.50 wage GM says it will pay to new workers at its Ultium Cells plant in Warren, Ohio as an example of “unacceptable” feature of employment at the new EV battery plants springing up in the U.S., including those making Ultium batteries as a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution.

Instead, Fain wants to see GM, Stellantis, and other automakers offer higher salaries than those at the established “Detroit Three” plants for workers at the cutting-edge EV battery factories. He also wants a fully unionized workforce at Ford’s gigantic Blue Oval City electric vehicle manufacturing complex in Tennessee.

Ultium responded to Fain’s statements by saying it is “committed to the collective bargaining process” and wants to reach an accord with the UAW that “positions our employees and our Ohio battery cell manufacturing facility for success.”

Workers at Ultium Cells in Ohio

Other negotiating goals Fain will pursue include elimination of the two-tiered wage system at auto plants, along with revival of the retirement and cost of living benefits eliminated almost 15 years ago in the “Great Recession.”

Shawn Fain was elected to the UAW presidency last month by a margin of just 500 votes, after a fiercely contested election process. The instability of the union’s leadership in recent times is highlighted by the fact that Fain is the fifth president over the past five years.

Marick Masters, a business professor analyzing the situation, expects the new UAW leadership to be “militant and antagonistic” and to seek to “achieve a maximum amount of gains, even at the expense of long-term relationships.”

Negotiations over wages and working conditions at GM’s Ultium Cells plants may be particularly important because of The General’s major electrification push. The automaker wants 2023 through 2025 to be breakout years for its EV initiative.

GM plans to introduce 30 new electric vehicles worldwide by 2025, and recently said it will have EVs in one third of automotive segments by the same date. The segments it’s aiming for are the most popular, accounting for 70 percent of vehicle sales each year.

As part of its strategy, GM fully developed its Ultium batteries, electric GM Ultium Drive motors, and highly scalable BEV3 platform as a jumping-off point for vastly increasing EV production to meet its electrification goals. In his recent remarks, new UAW president Shawn Fain also said he wants displaced internal combustion production workers to be offered unionized jobs at the new EV facilities.

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View Comments (48)

    • Right? I’m all for unions that support workers. The UAW supports themselves. Tax fraud, embezzlement, a chokehold on American automakers. The UAW needs gutted. Not a single foreign auto maker works with them. Why do the Big 3 have to?

      • I work at GM and I like my 6 figure job and top tier benefits. Go cry at mcd where it's the same job just way less money and no benefits. Flipping burgers and dealing with the public is way harder then putting a part on a truck

        • Good for you. Unions made America, at least they made the middle class. Capitalism gives unions the ability to negotiate for wages and benefits. There are fascists in the country that want to end unions, we see many of them posting on this site.

        • Nobody says you don't make money in the UAW, clearly you're making too much money if you're making six figures in your job is easier than flipping a burger. The UAW is getting filthy rich. See the problem? Are you the same guy complaining how expensive vehicles are? Maybe your non-skilled labor job doesn't need those benefits and pay. Or maybe you can just cut the corruption out of the UAW and GM can start making better products for the same price. The UAW is what caused the 2008-2009 bankruptcy to begin with.

          • Yeah, the UAW caused the financial crisis 'cuz it was so bigly into selling re-packaged mortgage defaults in the early-to-mid 2000s. You really know what's up.....

            And, making too much money? Really? Not a fan of capitalism, are ya?

          • The unions time has past. The free market already includes the 8 hour day and all of that stuff.

          • So you don’t have a problem with corporations making big profits, but you don’t like workers sharing in them. People like you are the problem.

  • Unfortunately the unions have become self serving just like the government. They enrich the “ elected leaders “ on the backs of the workers.

    • Next time you get a chance compare what the leadership at both national and Local Unions make compared to CEO’s at corporations. It’s not even close. In the 1950’s CEO pay to worker ratio was around 20 to 1, now it’s 350 to 1. Greed has grabbed CEO’s in this country big time. The only entity that is attempting to keep it close are the Unions. I’ve been in my Union for 49 years, now retired and collecting a pension with retiree health care supplement to Medicare. You won’t see many Union members seeking help from the government because they can’t survive on Social Security alone. Unions are helping workers earn a living wage while working and and while retired keeping them off of the “public dole” as FDR would say.

      • The CEOs need to be paid more to manage all the pushback from unions. In the old days everybody was a team and you didn't need all these managers cause everybody pulled their own weight.

        • So why do CEO’s of non-union companies make as much as the CEO’s of Union companies since they don’t have to manage Union pushback?

          • Cause non union CEOs have all these new regulations and taxes and paperwork that started under the fascist Roosevelt dictatorship that lasted 4 terms and didn't fix the great depression.

      • Unions are a workers only protection and bargaining negotiator. They maintain our standard of living.

  • I got that many workers either see unions as selfish or organized crime. I got that some union members reap the collective bargaining benefits of their union, yet b!tch about it or abuse protection of union and vote anti-union in elections. Sure, there are so called 'upper crust' unions that only care about themselves and union members who never worked a non-union job and have no clue what that is like. Keeping internal union democracy working is no easy task when it was run (UAW) like a fiefdom and/or when elected and appointed union officials are perfunctory in their duties. UAW members finally, after many years of fiefdom, through Rico Act, an opportunity of one member, one vote. That is what democracy is. And through that vote, elected Shawn Fain and other executive members to navigate UAW from darkness to light. It won't be instant gratification, however, its alot better than corrupt convicted criminals running the union.

    • Cars today would be as cheap as a model T if it wasn't for all the unions, regulations, taxes and "presidential" price hikes.

  • There was a black guy in my department in Lordstown plant of GM, he was Fired 13 times. The UAW and NAACP got his job back 13 TIMES! What got him Fired? SELLING DRUGS! (SPITTING TO THE GROUND!) "THAT'S WHAT I THINK ABOUT THE UNION!!!"

    • I got that Slasher. i have no idea, like yourself of what got your 'BLACK GUY' (sic) fired, do you? So your a dues paying member of the UAW and reap all the benefits, yet are misdirecting you being pissed off regarding a grievance process of another member. Or maybe you are in a Right To Work State that says you don't have to pay dues, yet reap the benefit. Or maybe you have dis-ease known as racial conditioning.

      • People in Red states can't get good paying car factory jobs because the unions won't let them get out of blue states.

  • I am sooo happy union democracy finally succeeded in dismantling UAW fiefdom. I wish Shawn Fain and other newly elected Board members best with their opportunity to take UAW from long time darkness to light. I understand some of us are pre-union or former union members. As a retired union member it was the best job I ever had!

  • I don't know why people complain about the uaw I make 6 figures and have great benefits for putting a part on a truck lol I don't see how they are not fighting for us.

    • I've worked for both union and non-union companies. I always had better wages and benefits working for union ones.

    • Yes, so much for communism being for the proletariat. To be honest, though, China has become a totalitarian nation that runs the corporations: sound familiar?

  • If Mary Barra can make an unearned income of over $24 million for the past many years, then GM can afford to pay a good wage to the people that actually earn their pay.
    GM was saved from bankruptcy so they could ‘keep good paying jobs in America’ . Not to pay people $16 per hour.

    • And why did they go bankrupt to begin with? Union, legacy dues, it cost too much money to make a vehicle that they weren't price competitive due to all these extra union costs and legacy expenses. As long as you're on the train though, ride it until it ends. Again.

      • No, the 2008 financial crisis was caused by mortgage companies lending potential homeowners more than they could afford to pay back. The result was a bunch of defaulted mortgages. Which tanked the economy. Given that a new car is the second-largest financial commitment most people make, it stands to reason that GM would be caught in the crossfire. Simple as that.

        • If it wasn't for unions driving up housing costs, borrowers could get by without those bad loans.

      • The members pay the dues so no matter the cost of the dues it has no bearing on the cost of a vehicle

  • There's no excuse for overbearing, over-powerful labor unions.
    They destroyed the British motor industry.

  • Manufacturing junk vehicles is what doomed the British automotive industry.
    Why do Brits drink warm beer, because their refrigerators are manufactured by Lucas Electric.
    God bless the UAW..

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