UAW, Ultium to Begin Contract Negotiations in January

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – The United Auto Workers union and Ultium Cells LLC will begin negotiations next month toward a collective bargaining agreement that would represent workers at the company’s new $2.3 billion battery cell facility here.

UAW spokeswoman Sandra Engle confirmed in an email “the parties will begin in January and will not comment any further on negotiations.”

Workers at Ultium Cells’ Lordstown plant voted overwhelmingly to join the UAW after an election organized by the National Labor Relations Board was held Dec. 7 and 8 at the factory along Tod Avenue.

Employees voted 710 to 16 in favor of joining the union with one ballot voided, according to results released by the NLRB. The parties had five business days to file objections to the election. No objections were submitted, and the election was certified Dec. 23, according to the NLRB.

“Ultium Cells is committed to the collective bargaining process, and will work in good faith with the UAW to reach a competitive agreement that positions our employees and our Ohio battery cell manufacturing facility for success,” Ultium spokeswoman Brooke Waid said in a statement. “We look forward to a positive working relationship with the UAW.”

On Oct. 31, the UAW filed a petition with the NLRB’s Cleveland office that called for a union election at the plant to gain recognition. Previously, the UAW organized a card-check process in which 85% of the hourly employees at Lordstown signed up in favor of joining the UAW.

The company responded that it preferred an election that would be certified by the NLRB.

Over several months, the company participated in meetings and discussions with the UAW about a process for certifying the UAW’s majority status without going through an NLRB election, the UAW said earlier.

In September, workers at Ultium authorized the potential use of a strike to pressure the company to recognize the UAW. About 94% of those who voted approved the strike measure.

Ultium, a joint venture between General Motors and Korea-based LG Energy Solution, began production at its Lordstown plant in August. The factory manufactures cells that are used in electric-vehicle batteries, namely for vehicles in GM’s new EV portfolio.

The company is in the process of building two other plants, one in Spring Hill, Tenn., and another in Lansing, Mich. A fourth plant is also in the planning stages.

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