UAW Vying to Represent GM Battery Plant Employees

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
uaw vying to represent gm battery plant employees

On Monday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) announced that it is seeking to represent workers employed by the Ohio-based joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy. The union said that it had filed a petition on behalf of 900 people building Ultium battery cells, saying that a majority of the plant’s workforce had already signed cards indicating that they wanted UAW representation.

A formal request was also issued on Monday via the Cleveland office of the National Labor Relations Board. The union said that there had previously been discussions about whether the facility would even recognize the UAW via the card check process, rather than a formal election. It also said that it would continue pressing the issue after the joint venture allegedly refused to acknowledge it.

“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," stated UAW President Ray Curry. "Make no mistake: whether it is by card check or union election, these workers will be members of the UAW.”

Factory spokesperson Brooke Waid told The Detroit News that she "believes the right to a personal and private vote is important,” suggesting that the UAW’s signed cards weren’t sufficiently convincing.

"Ultium Cells respects workers’ freedom to choose union representation and the efforts of the UAW to organize battery cell manufacturing workers at our Ohio manufacturing site," Waid said in a statement. "Ultium Cells will comply with the National Labor Relations Act, which protects our employees’ right to freely decide unionization through a voluntary election conducted by the [National Labor Relations Board]."

It looks like the company will be getting that vote. However, the UAW still contends that it had repeatedly met with leadership to discuss the process for certifying the union’s alleged majority status without going through an NLRB election and that Ultium Cells previously indicated that the authorization cards would have been sufficient.

[Image: Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock]

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2 of 15 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Nov 02, 2022

    Successful unionization efforts are typically in response to an employer's actions or inactions on safety or pay, no? Is there any word on why employees have signed up for union representation?

    UAW has so poisoned unionization that you'd have to be a sadist to consider them as your representation. They make public unions look reasonable.... well, almost.

    • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Nov 02, 2022

      Employers have steadily eroded so much trust over the last couple of decades that workers are increasingly turning to representation before bad things happen.

      Every time they impose just-in-time scheduling, rigid points systems for absence or work speed, or procedures that force employees to spend more time without getting paid, a union gets a little closer to winning an election.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Nov 02, 2022

    Those things you listed are reasons why employees would explore unionizing. If those things don't happen, then what are we talking about?

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