As GM Authority previously reported, production of GM Ultium batteries at the GM Ultium Cells LLC plant in Ohio was temporarily halted due to a concern with the facility’s emissions equipment. Although this issue seems to have been quickly resolved, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is raising concerns surrounding the safety of workers at the Ohio plant.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the UAW points to several instances where Ultium Cells plant worker safety wasn’t prioritized, and is demanding better safety protections following multiple incidents. For example, one worker was sprayed with poisonous gases while working with electrodes, while another witnessed an employee disposing of toxic materials in a garbage can.
It’s worth noting that it’s currently unclear if this recent development comes as a direct result of the temporary closure of the Ohio-based Ultium Cells plant, which is jointly operated by General Motors and LG Energy Solution.
“It’s not just the low pay, these jobs are often dangerous,” UAW President Shawn Fain commented in a prepared statement. “This is our defining moment. It’s time to build an EV industry that puts workers first.”
Notably, the UAW and Bernie Sanders claimed that the wages at the Ohio-based Ultium Cells plant are unacceptable back in April 2023.
Of course, this comes as the UAW is in the midst of contract negotiations with the Big Three. In fact, the jointly operated Ultium Cells plant is not a part of current contracts, which only serves to further complicate future negotiations.
“A competitive, forward-thinking collective bargaining agreement can provide a model for unionization of other U.S. battery cell manufacturing plants and extended electric vehicle supply chain,” Ultium Vice President Tom Gallagher was quoted as saying.