General Motors’ Ultium Cells, a joint venture with LG Energy Solution focused on producing batteries for electric vehicles, has reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to increase worker pay at its battery plant in Ohio by an average of 25%. The plant plays a crucial role in supplying batteries for GM’s expanding electric vehicle lineup. This deal represents a significant victory for the UAW, as it marks the first major organized battery plant in the US.
The agreement addresses worker pay for approximately 1,100 employees at the plant, who had previously sought wages similar to those of traditional counterparts in engine and car assembly. Currently, Ultium workers earn between roughly $20 and $25 an hour for production roles and $25 to $34.60 an hour for maintenance positions. The wage increases will range from $3 to $4 an hour, although the wages will still be less than the more than $32 an hour paid to traditional UAW assembly workers at Detroit automakers.
The deal, which requires worker ratification, covers pay and back wages. The tentative agreement does not encompass other aspects of the work environment or processes. If ratified, the retroactive wage increase will be applicable, and eligible hourly employees will receive back pay for hours worked since December 23. The UAW’s ratification vote is expected to be concluded by August 27.
The Ultium plant in Ohio began production in August and is the first of several US battery facilities planned by joint ventures with GM. Other automakers like Ford and Stellantis are also establishing similar plants, each requiring separate union organization efforts in addition to those for the Ultium plants.