The United Automobile Workers’ Union (UAW) has accused Ultium Cells, a joint venture that manufactures GM batteries, of failing to allow workers to hold a preliminary vote.
UAW Vice President Terry Dittes wrote in a letter to union leaders that the joint venture between GM and LG Energy had “softly rejected” the union’s offer of a “card verification agreement”. CNBCreceived a copy of the letter.
The agreement allows union officials to visit the Ultium Cells plant in Ohio (which has not yet been commissioned) to collect organizational maps. This step would be the first step in determining its presence in the plant, which is some controversial topic here.
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“Many employers have agreed to this process in order to recognize UAW in a smooth and peaceful manner,” Dittes said in a letter. “Ultium has given up the simple basic features of card verification we offer.”
In April 2021, former UAW President Rory Gamble expressed concern about joint ventures that produce batteries that, unlike other GM plants, do not require a union representative.
“We need to make sure that the work is maintained for a living wage and that these workers can organize,” Gamble said at the time. “In this country, we do not need any other services. That’s what I’m afraid of. If these jobs are low-paying, the lowest-paying jobs will not benefit the economy. ”
Although Ultium did not rule out the requirements in the letter, the spokesman said it would allow employees to choose whether or not to represent UAW.
“UAW Ultium Cells is interested in providing a portion of the workforce and we have held initial discussions on a Neutrality Agreement that will allow the card verification process at our facility in Warren, Ohio,” Ultium spokesman Brooke Wade said in a statement. “We support and will always support the process that allows our people to determine their representative status, it is a matter of personal choice.”
Recently, General Motors and UAW clashed, with the longest car strike in recent memory ending before the pandemic began.
The first of three Ultium Cells plants planned in the United States, Lordstown, Ohio, the above-mentioned plant could only affect 1,100 workers. This plant is especially meaningful because it is located next to a plant with 1,700 employees, including GM, which closed in 2019.
The UAW letter came a day before GM’s Ford rival Ford hired another 6,200 union workers and offered them better benefits.
However, despite this supposed failure, Dittes was confident about the future of the union at the Ultium Cells plant.
“We will introduce staff to all future Ultium sites under construction there and now,” he wrote in the letter. “We will not slow down the organization of workers who want to join our union!”