Thu, 30 Nov 2023

WARREN, Ohio: Next month, workers at a General Motors-LG Energy battery cell manufacturing plant in Ohio will decide whether to unionize.

Workers at Ultium Cells LLC in Warren, Ohio, will vote on 7th and 8th December after the United Auto Workers (UAW) petitioned to represent about 900 workers, said the National Labor Relations Board.

The vote is a crucial test of the ability of the UAW to organize workers in the growing electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, and came after most employees signed cards authorizing the union to represent them.

"By refusing to recognize their majority-will, Ultium, which is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, has decided to ignore democracy and delay the recognition process," said UAW President Ray Curry.

The Ohio plant, the first of at least four planned Ultium U.S. battery factories, began production of batteries in August.

In a trip to South Korea in May, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed support for workers seeking to unionize JV battery plants. Detroit automakers all have battery plants in the works with Korean partners.

GM and LG Energy are building a $2.6 billion battery cell plant in Michigan that will open in 2024, and a $2.3 billion Tennessee plant to be completed in 2023, as well as considering an Indiana site for a fourth plant in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Department said in July that it intends to loan Ultium $2.5 billion to help finance new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities, including the Ohio plant.

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