As GM Authority has been closely following, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and General Motors have been in the midst of contract negotiations since mid-July 2023. Now, Ultium Cells LLC – the joint venture between the Detroit-based automaker and LG Energy Solution – has claimed that there is no way its workers can be included in the national labor agreement.
According to a statement released on Ultium Cells LLC’s website, the joint venture says that it “does not see a viable legal or practical path to place Ultium Cells Ohio into the General Motors National Agreement.”
This recent development comes after 28 U.S. senators, including the likes of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, urged the GM to recognize workers at the joint venture under national labor agreements before current contracts expire in September 2023. The senators criticized Ultium Cells LLC for paying low wages at its Ohio plant, and noted that workers make half as much as workers did at the former GM Lordstown assembly plant. More recently, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) also called on GM, Ford and Stellantis to fold all joint venture battery plant workers into the national UAW agreement.
If the Ultium Cells LLC workers were to be included under the current national labor agreement, they would likely receive better pay and benefits.
It’s worth noting that the UAW and General Motors have been back-and-forth in contract negotiations as of late, so much so that the labor union has been attempting to elicit the help of the U.S government. In fact, UAW Present Shawn Fain was in Washington for some time meeting various representatives, including a brief sit-down with U.S. President Joe Biden, in an attempt to garner more support.
As of the time of this writing, negotiations are ongoing, as the UAW is fighting for retiree benefits, cost-of-living adjustments, and unionization of the GM Ultium battery plants, among a wealth of other items. Notably, the labor union has stated that it isn’t afraid to strike if it doesn’t receive what it perceives as a fair offering.