GM is ramping up its battery production efforts in the U.S., with a series of new plants either planned or under construction. GM’s first full-scale battery production plant in the U.S. is the Ultium Cells facility in Ohio, which initially launched production efforts last September under a joint venture between GM and South Korean battery-maker LG Energy Solution. Now, it looks like workers at the Ultium Cells facility in Ohio are about to get an interim pay raise.
According to a recent report from Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the new deal would increase the starting wage from $15.50 per hour to over $20 per hour, and would also include back pay for tenured employees. The deal arrives as management negotiates its first contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union. Ultium Cells plant workers at the Ohio facility voted to join the union this past December.
Negotiations between the UAW and Ultium Cells management have focused primarily on pay, as Ultium workers typically earn half of the top wage at GM’s vehicle assembly plants. GM and the UAW are currently engaged in labor contract negotiations for the automaker’s vehicle assembly workers. Some lawmakers are calling on GM to fold Ulium Cell workers into the national labor contract between GM and the UAW.
According to UAW President Shawn Fain, the current wages have resulted in “terrible turnover” at the Ultium Cells facility.
The Ultium Cells plant in Ohio produces batteries used in GM’s all-electric vehicles, including the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq. The UAW has also criticized the Ohio Ultium Cells plant in Ohio for poor safety. The plant recently experienced a chemical spill that idled operations in the cathode mixing area of the plant. The spill occurred over the weekend, while operations at the mixing area did not resume until Wednesday. Ultium says that no one injured in the accident. The OSHA is currently investigating.