Today, the UAW releases “High Risk & Low Pay: A Case Study of Ultium Cells Lordstown,” a white paper that highlights the dangerous working conditions at General Motors’ joint-venture battery cell plant in Lordstown, Ohio. It includes worker testimonials and health & safety research that show the urgent need to raise wages and safety standards in the EV battery industry.


In December 2022, the workers who build electric vehicle batteries for Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio, voted overwhelmingly to join the UAW.

The white paper follows a video released last week, “Our Defining Moment,” featuring the voices of Ultium workers speaking out on the risk of a failed transition to electric vehicles if companies like General Motors continue to pursue a low-road approach. View the video here.

It also follows an independent report by Good Jobs First, “Power Outrage: Will Heavily Subsidized Battery Factories Generate Substandard Jobs?” The report details the immense government subsidies going into the EV battery industry, and how corporate America is using them to drastically lower industry standards for EV workers. Read the report here.

For the full story of the Ultium workers’ fight for justice, visit


Under a provision of the Inflation Reduction Act, some factories making batteries for electric vehicles will each receive more than a billion dollars per year from the U.S. government, with no requirement to pay good wages to production workers. Thanks to the Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit, also called 45X for its section in the Internal Revenue Code, battery companies will receive tax credits that they can use, sell, or cash out.

The 45X program alone will cost taxpayers over $200 billion in the next decade, far more than the $31 billion estimated by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. On top of 45X and other federal incentives, factories manufacturing electric vehicles and batteries have also been promised well over $13 billion in state and local economic development incentives in just the past 18 months.

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United Auto Workers Union President Shawn Fain addressed UAW workers about concerns facing auto workers and battery workers at Ultium Cells in Lordstown.

Fain said that some of the UAW workers were struggling to get by, and stated that the big 3 automakers, GM, Ford, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Fiat) made more than $36 million nearly profit last year he said during a live stream on Facebook from Detriot, Michigan Friday.

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The neutrality statement is the first step towards establishing a historic climate-tech workforce partnership; catalyst is SPARKZ exploring GigaCampus in central California

LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA/DETROIT—SPARKZ, the next-generation battery manufacturer re-engineering the battery supply chain, and the United Auto Workers announced today they have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a national labor-management agreement and statement of neutrality. The agreement initiates a strong foothold for the union in battery manufacturing and provides SPARKZ with a partnership to recruit and train the best workers in America.

SPARKZ is finalizing plans for its first GigaCampus location in central California to expand commercialization of its zero-cobalt, zero-nickel battery, which will initially employ 500 workers and could grow to as many as 3,000.

“SPARKZ is proud to partner with the UAW to secure the American worker’s place in the new energy economy, while re-engineering the battery supply chain domestically,” said SPARKZ founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra. “This partnership is a symbol of American innovation and American workers building a high-quality energy future together, while fighting to end foreign dominance of advanced batteries.”

SPARKZ believes the agreement with UAW will make it more competitive against industry leaders by leveraging the talents of auto workers that focus on the highest quality and safety standards.

“Workers across the battery supply chain, from electric vehicles to agricultural equipment, must have the right to organize,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “We applaud SPARKZ for doing the right thing in agreeing not to interfere with workers’ right to join a union and look forward to winning a strong contract that sets the standard for the battery industry.”

“UAW members in California have a critical role to play in the fight for climate justice,” said UAW Region 6 Director Mike Miller. “Collective bargaining in the emerging green economy is a key piece of that work.”

California will be the first location for the partnership. SPARKZ has committed to over 800 new, full-time jobs and over $700 million of investment in the state.

“The future happens in California first. As we continue leading the clean energy industry of tomorrow, we have to ensure the hardworking people who build our world-class economy are valued and prioritized,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. SPARKZ and the United Auto Workers are helping us lead that charge by recognizing the climate technology we need should be made by America’s best-trained workforce. Thanks to their partnership, the next generation batteries manufactured in California will be more sustainable, more efficient, and help secure the energy storage supply chain to ensure California achieves its zero-carbon emission goals.”

SPARKZ announced plans in 2022 to set up shop in West Virginia for material processing and production of cells and modules. The project, projected to begin manufacturing in 2023, will help coalfield families transition into the new energy economy. SPARKZ will continue to collaborate exclusively with the United Mine Workers of America in West Virginia.

Founded by industry veteran and former U.S. Department of Energy executive Sanjiv Malhotra, SPARKZ will begin commercialization of a high energy-density Cobalt-free, American-made Lithium-ion battery, while continuing its groundbreaking research and development focused on re-engineering the rest of the battery supply chain.

The company’s first commercial product will eliminate cobalt, traditionally used in the cathode of a Lithium-ion battery, with the objective of reducing the cost of lithium battery production in the U.S., while also eliminating a primary environmental concern, and reducing chokepoints created by a foreign supply-chain. SPARKZ will be announcing its customer and OEM partnerships soon.

SPARKZ was founded in late 2019 and has been in innovation mode. SPARKZ has completed the transfer of 6 patents from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which continues to be an R&D partner. In addition to being 100% cobalt-free, the patents also reduce production time significantly and enhance battery performance.


Today, Ford Motor Company announced that they would be building a new LFP (lithium iron phosphate) battery plant in Marshall, Michigan, which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

“Ford got it right by building this plant right here in Michigan,” says UAW President Ray Curry.  “We supported the public investment into this facility as we know it will create good paying union jobs that will benefit the community and maintain strong wage and benefit standards in the auto industry.”

“This facility furthers Ford’s commitment to our members who make EV vehicles. Our members in Local 600 who produce the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, will install the LFP batteries in the Lightning starting next year,” says UAW Vice President and Director of the National Ford Department Chuck Browning.  He adds:  “Because of the foresight of collective bargaining, the UAW will be able to organize this new facility using a card check to prove majority interest.”

“This facility will create jobs for 2,500 workers starting in 2026,” adds UAW Region 1D Director Steve Dawes.  “We look forward to working with the new workforce to organize the plant.”

Today, General Motors announced $918 million in investments at four UAW facilities to support truck production and future electric vehicle (EV) production.  

Our union celebrates the announcement of these new investments into our GM facilities which will benefit our members at Locals 659 (Flint, Michigan), 362 (Bay City, MI), 211 (Defiance, OH) and 1097 (Rochester, NY).  The skill and dedication of UAW members are a key part of GM’s success, and this investment recognizes that our members will remain a vital part of GM’s future.

On Tuesday, the United States Postal Service announced it will increase the number of electric next generation delivery vehicles it will order for its fleet. By failing to follow the lead of the Biden administration and require these vehicles be union made, the USPS has once again turned its back on the workers of Oshkosh, WI who are members of UAW Local 578 who already produce quality vehicles for Oshkosh Defense and who have the capacity and skill to produce these USPS electric vehicles.

We urge USPS to ensure that these vehicles will be union made. That’s what the UAW/NRDC lawsuit against USPS seeks to achieve. When it comes to the vehicles that will be produced by Oshkosh Defense, there is a highly skilled, trained workforce that is ready to go in Oshkosh, WI. That is where these vehicles should be made, not in a recently converted warehouse far away from the company’s home base and the UAW members who have made the company so successful.

In addition, the USPS has announced that it will purchase additional off-the-shelf vehicles. These vehicles should be made with union labor. This announcement presents an opportunity to ensure that the transition to electric vehicles is not at the expense of good union wages and existing workers.

Today, Ultium workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the UAW by a vote of 710 to 16 (1 void).

“Our entire union welcomes our latest members from Ultium,” says UAW President Ray Curry. “As the auto industry transitions to electric vehicles, new workers entering the auto sector at plants like Ultium are thinking about their value and worth. This vote shows that they want to be a part of maintaining the high standards and wages that UAW members have built in the auto industry.”

“Region 2B has stood with Ultium workers since the moment they said they wanted to form their organizing committees,” adds UAW Region 2B Director Wayne Blanchard. “Their hard work and the support of Region 2B members and staff have led to this powerful victory. Special thanks to the retirees of Local 1112 who would open the hall at any hour to help Ultium workers meet.”

Ultium Cells LLC is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions.