Op-Ed: Ultium Cells Proud to Bring Cell Manufacturing to America

By Tom Gallagher
Vice President of Operations, Ultium Cells LLC

Today, most battery cells and cell materials for electric vehicles are imported into the United States. Ultium Cells is proud to be a first mover to bring cell manufacturing technology to America to support the growing electric vehicle market.

Ultium Cells is a battery cell manufacturer formed through forward thinking collaboration between LG Energy Solution and General Motors that builds on a long-standing relationship focused on product innovation. Our partner companies are leaders in their respective industries and have a mutual interest to meet the growing customer demand for electric vehicles with leading performance. The Ultium Cells business is a tier one supplier of battery cells to General Motors as it launches a full range of North American Electric Vehicles.  

In order to meet the rapidly growing demand, Ultium Cells will deploy the intellectual property for cell and manufacturing process design from LG Energy Solutions.

Ultium Cells has been built by collaborations, beginning in 2019 with our joint venture partners LGES and GM, our partnerships with educational stakeholders and extending into the community with local organizations. 

In Ohio, we have educational partnerships for skill and personal development through Youngstown State University and Eastern Gateway Community College. We also take pride in the important work within the community with strategic partners such as Brite Energy Innovators, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, MVMC and Warren Family Mission.  

The state of Ohio and JobsOhio has been a strong partner as we collaborate on regional workforce development strategies to build the future economy.  

Ultium Cells’ vision is to link government stakeholders (federal, state and local) with industry, educators and unions to build a better tomorrow through onshoring clean energy manufacturing jobs. The strategic collaboration in our region was highlighted in the state of Ohio EV Workforce Strategy rollout last week by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. Ultium Cells is a significant supporter of this strategy.

Since 2019, Ultium Cells has invested over $9 billion to bring the battery cell manufacturing technology supply chain to the United States and onshore more than 5,000 new clean energy jobs in targeted American communities. In early 2020, we broke ground on one of the largest battery cell plants in the world that created more than 2,000 union trade jobs building the future of clean energy manufacturing. Today, we are proud to be a team of more than 1,500 making contributions to position the U.S. as a leader in clean energy manufacturing.

We have also found that the residents of Northeast Ohio are as excited about working at Ultium Cells as we are to be a part of the community. Our career opportunities have generated over 5,000 interested applicants, with more than 80% of accepted employment offers to join our team. People enjoy working as a member of the Ultium Cells team. They are eager to learn about the new technology and career opportunities available to grow with the company. In fact, more than 20 percent of team members have been promoted after six months. Employees are also investing in their future through continued education with the company’s tuition reimbursement program up to $8,000 per year.   

There are extraordinary opportunities for advancement and personal growth for anyone willing to grow their knowledge in this emerging business. Ultium Cells remains committed to providing a competitive total compensation package for all our people.

The Ultium Cells Ohio workforce voted for the United Auto Workers union to represent them, marking the first and only unionized battery cell manufacturing facility in the U.S. We are excited about that and the opportunity it brings to establish a template for competitive agreements in this new industry.  A competitive, forward thinking collective bargaining agreement can provide a model for the unionization of other U.S. battery cell manufacturing plants and the extended electric vehicle supply chain. 

Ultium Cells’ leadership is committed to working collaboratively with the UAW to negotiate and finalize this first labor agreement for our Lordstown, Ohio, plant so that the business can support tremendous EV growth ahead of us and be nimble enough to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s customers in this dynamic industry.

We recognize the value of our workforce and want a contract that supports their needs and positions Ultium Cells to grow and be nimble enough to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s customers in this dynamic industry. Ultium Cells remains committed to providing a competitive total compensation package. 

Ultium Cells’ leadership looks forward to working with the UAW to continue building a work environment that is inclusive and engaging to unlock the full potential of our team members. When Ultium Cells succeeds, our people succeed, our communities succeed and the union succeeds by bringing investment and new clean energy jobs to America.

Through our unified collaborations, we are proud of the growth we have made and continue to make as One Ultium Team on employee safety, producing high-quality products, continuous innovation, training and development.

In just a few years, the Ultium Cells story is taking shape as it evolves from a vision in 2019 to a top cell manufacturing business through more than $9B of new investment and over 5,000 brand-new jobs across three states.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.