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UAW workers at Ohio plant approve new contract with significant wage increases

The new contract, which received 98% approval, will raise production workers' wages to $35 an hour by October 2027.

United Auto Workers (UAW) members at the Ohio plant supplying battery cells for General Motors’ electric vehicles have overwhelmingly approved a new contract, marking a significant win for labor rights and wages in the EV sector.

The workforce at Ultium Cells, a joint venture between GM and South Korea-based LG Energy Solution, voted to unionize in December 2022, just five months after the facility began production. The new contract, which received 98% approval, will raise production workers’ wages to $35 an hour by October 2027.

“In this agreement, we have raised the top production wage from $20 after seven years on the job to $35 after one year on the job, by the end of the deal,” UAW President Shawn Fain wrote on the union’s website. “Our starting wage has gone up from $16.50 to $26.91. We have better health and safety language at Ultium than anywhere in this industry. We have made major gains for skilled trades, on schedule, and dozens of other important issues.”

According to the company’s website, the contract vote took place from 5 a.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Sunday, demonstrating strong support among the 1,700-person workforce at Ultium Cells. The plant is next to GM’s former Lordstown Assembly Plant, which was idled in 2019 and later sold to electric truck maker Lordstown Motors.

Last fall, the union’s negotiations with Detroit automakers revolved around organizing joint-venture battery plants. The question at hand was whether the employees at these plants would be covered by the UAW’s national agreement with GM, guaranteeing them equal pay and benefits compared to the workers at assembly plants. During a 46-day targeted strike last fall, GM agreed to include Ultium Cells employees in the master contract. As a result, when UAW members ratified the new agreement with GM last November, employees at Ultium Cells received an immediate pay raise of $6 to $8 per hour.

This contract approval signifies a major step forward for UAW workers at Ultium Cells, setting a precedent for labor agreements in the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry.

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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