LORDSTOWN, Ohio – UAW Local 1112 members voted overwhelmingly to ratify their historic contract at Ultium Cells, which builds battery cells for GM electric vehicles. The local contract, approved by 98% over the weekend, sets a new standard for the EV industry with strong wages and benefits and historic health and safety protections.  

The Ultium workers speak about the contract victory in a new video launched today by the UAW. The video can be accessed here, and the media is invited to use the footage.  

“It enables me to just go ahead and move forward in life rather than living from paycheck to paycheck,” said Ultium worker Donald Bevly. 

“This is setting a precedent that can be built on,” said Ultium worker Chris Wyatt. “This is a guideline that every other EV plant can follow through with.”  

When Ultium opened in 2021, the workers were nonunion, they made just $16.50 an hour, and the EV industry was in a race to the bottom. But the Ultium workers organized with the UAW in late 2022 and during the Stand Up Strike, they were brought under the GM national agreement.  

By October 2027, Ultium production workers will make $35 an hour, 112% more than before they joined the UAW. The contract includes:  

  • 30% raise over three years for production workers
  • Immediate $3,000 bonus
  • Four full-time union health and safety representatives in the plant as well as a full-time union industrial hygienist on site 

“The benefits are just the best benefits I’ve had in my life,” said Ultium worker Lori Lovitz. “Paid hospitalization, holiday pay. I’ve never had this many paid holidays. Job security.”  

Another Ultium plant is beginning operations in Spring Hill, Tenn., and battery plants that will employ tens of thousands of workers are being built across the country. The Ultium contract sets a powerful precedent for those facilities and the entire EV industry.   

For more details about the agreement, visit uaw.org/ultium

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A majority of U.S. Democratic Senators are calling on the Big Three automakers to support a just transition to electric vehicles (EVs) in their ongoing contract talks with the UAW.

In a letter released today, the Senators said, “Profits should translate to gains for workers. It is unacceptable that in the midst of extreme financial gains for the companies, executives, and investors, the workers making the electric vehicle batteries that will enable a transition to clean energy vehicles are making poverty-level wages. Before the expiration of UAW’s contract, we urge you to announce that all electric vehicle workers at these joint ventures will be folded into the national UAW contract.”

The UAW contract expires on Sept. 14, and it covers 150,000 autoworkers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

In a statement, UAW President Shawn Fain said, “These senators agree that now is the time to ensure all autoworkers have the same pay and safety standards that generations of UAW members have fought for and maintained. This senate letter puts a spotlight on EV workers and the need for a just transition in the new green economy because it’s a national concern for all our communities. These negotiations will set the future of the auto industry for decades to come, so we have to get it right. This is when real friends show up. Our members are thankful for the partnership we have with these senators.”

A copy of the letter is below and a full list of the signatories can be found HERE.

 

Dear Ms. Barra, Mr. Farley, Mr. Tavares, Mr. Eun, Dr. Rhee, and Mr. Chun:

As you engage in contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW), we urge you to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair outcome by agreeing to fold workers at all joint venture electric vehicle battery facilities into the national UAW contract. UAW workers have made General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Stellantis the successful, innovative, and profitable companies they are today, and workers in the new electric vehicle sector will be critical to your future success. They must share in the benefits of a union contract.

Through the passage of the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the United States Congress made it clear that electric vehicle production, as well as its contributing supply chain, is a national priority industry. We were proud to support the legislation that made major investments in this American clean energy industry possible – we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the disrupting impact of climate change on American families, as well as ensure that the technologies of the future are designed and produced here in the United States by American workers with union contracts. We can and must do both.

Though we can all agree that investments in electric vehicle production are necessary to outpace foreign competition, these investments are not a blank check on worker conditions. Department of Energy loans made possible by the IRA require the companies to create “good-paying jobs with strong labor standards…throughout the life of the loan.”

In other words, high-tech electric vehicle manufacturing jobs should set the standard for wages and benefits for all American manufacturing jobs. These are highly skilled, technical, and strenuous jobs. To that end, it is unacceptable and a national disgrace that the starting wage at any current American joint venture electric vehicle battery facility is $16 an hour. We note that at $33,320 a year, the starting wage at one of these facilities is just above the poverty level for a family of four. American workers, especially those working full time in 21st century state-of-the-art manufacturing, should not make poverty level wages.

The starting wage at these electric vehicle facilities is particularly egregious in the face of the billions of dollars of profits GM, Stellantis, and Ford have made in the past 10 years. Between 2013 and 2022, General Motors and Ford Motor Company made over $100 billion and $75 billion in profit in North America, respectively. Stellantis announced almost $18 billion in profits in 2022 alone. This should, in theory, be great news. It is a testament to our economic resilience that profits are now well above pre-pandemic levels. But despite these impressive figures, General Motors and Stellantis have both announced plans to restart billion-dollar stock buyback programs rather than invest in their workers. In fact, in that same profitable 10-year period, GM, Ford and Stellantis have all closed or “idled” productive plants across the country, including the General Motors Lordstown Facility in Ohio and the Stellantis Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois. These closures should never have happened in the first place.

Profits should translate to gains for workers. It is unacceptable that in the midst of extreme financial gains for the companies, executives, and investors, the workers making the electric vehicle batteries that will enable a transition to clean energy vehicles are making poverty-level wages. Before the expiration of UAW’s contract, we urge you to announce that all electric vehicle workers at these joint ventures will be folded into the national UAW contract.

NEW HYDE PARK, NY — UAW President Shawn Fain and Region 9A Director Brandon Mancilla will join Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien, Teamsters Local 804 President Vinnie Perrone, and hundreds of UPS workers at the Teamsters Contract Unity Rally in New York this Saturday, July 15th.

The rally comes as the Teamsters near their July 31st strike deadline at UPS, covering 340,000 Teamster drivers and warehouse workers, and amidst the opening of contract negotiations at the Big Three automakers, covering 150,000 autoworkers.  

WHAT: UPS Teamsters Contract Unity Rally

WHEN: Saturday, July 15, 9am

WHERE: Teamsters Local 282, 2500 Marcus Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY

“From UPS to the Big Three, Corporate America continues to attack the working class in this country, and the Teamsters are teaching us all a lesson in fighting back,” UAW President Shawn Fain said. “The UAW stands in solidarity with our Teamster family and I’m traveling to New York to deliver that message straight to the hardworking Teamsters at UPS.”

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.

READ THE WHITE PAPER HERE: UAW.org/Ultium

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 UAW.org/Ultium

 

VAN BUREN CHARTER TOWNSHIP, MI – As of midnight on the morning of May 17th,160 workers at Constellium Automotive are on strike, after weeks of the company refusing to bargain in good faith. The plant supplies parts for the Ford F-150, F-150 Lightning, Explorer and Super Duty at six UAW-represented Ford Assembly plants,

The workers, members of UAW Local 174, are seeking to address serious health and safety issues, along with unfair discipline from management.

“Our negotiating team has met with the company nine times since April 18th,” UAW Region 1A Director Laura Dickerson said. “And on every single occasion, Constellium has made it very clear they have zero interest in taking our members’ proposals seriously. This is a prime example of employer arrogance forcing the hand of its workforce.”

The UAW has filed unfair labor practice charges against the company for bargaining in bad faith and expects to resume negotiations this week.

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.

About SPARKZ
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.

 

PLAINFIELD, Vermont – The staff of Goddard College have now been on strike for one week, as Goddard College President Dan Hocoy refuses to meet with them to provide a living wage. Instead, the College is planning to cut off workers’ health insurance effective at midnight tonight.

The striking staff is calling for a $20 minimum wage for workers who run the College’s housekeeping, facilities, financial aid, admissions, and other operations. Goddard College’s commitment to a fair wage is vital to the local economy of Plainfield, Vermont.

Trevor Utton, an IT department staffer on strike, said “We want to see Goddard succeed. But if we can’t take care of our day to day needs, it makes it very hard for us to do that. We’ve been out on the picket line in snow, sleet, single-digit weather. I just want to see a wage that allows Goddard staff to live in this economy.”

“President Hocoy is not just attacking Goddard College staff and faculty,” said UAW Local 2322 President Patrick Burke, “He’s attacking the whole community, and the ability of towns like Plainfield and Montpelier to thrive.”

“Across the country, higher education workers are standing up for fair wages and a voice on the job,” said UAW Region 9A Director Brandon Mancilla. “Now it’s up to Goddard College President Hocoy to do the right thing.”

The Goddard College strike is the latest in a wave of higher education worker organizing, following the largest higher education strike in US history at the University of California, where UAW Locals 2865 and 5810 won significant gains after 40 days on the picket line.

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.”

After thirty-two days of striking, the UAW Academic Student Employee and Student Researcher bargaining teams have reached tentative agreements on a contract with the University of California.

“These tentative agreements include major pay increases and expanded benefits which will improve the quality of life for all members of the bargaining unit,” says UAW President Ray Curry. “Our members stood up to show the university that academic workers are vital to UC’s success. They deserve nothing less than a contract that reflects the important role they play and the reality of working in cities with extremely high costs of living.”

Members will vote on ratifying the agreements next week. “UAW members at UC stood together for equity and a fair contract. The support poured in from day one and continues to today,” adds Region 6 Director Mike Miller. “We look forward to hearing from members during the upcoming ratification process.”

Newly elected UAW International Executive Board members were sworn in today and the following assignments were announced:

President’s Office – Ray Curry

President’s Office:  Black Lake, Civil and Human Rights, International Affairs, Legislative, National CAP, Michigan CAP, Retired Workers, Public Relations/Strategic Campaigns, Research, Legal, Social Security, Education, Health and Safety, Veterans, Arbitration and Sourcing, Heavy Truck, Aerospace, General Dynamics, Skilled Trades and Women’s. The President also has oversight over administrative departments such as Human Resources, Information Technology Systems, Travel, Compliance, Appeals, Bylaws, Policy, Administrative Letters and Security.

EV/Transnational Bargaining

Organizing (IPS, EV, Transnational, Assembly, Higher Ed and EV-Joint Ventures)

Secretary-Treasurer – Margaret Mock

Secretary-Treasurer’s Office:  Accounting, Purchasing, Auditing, Strike Assistance, Benefits/Pensions, Investments, Union Building Corp, Facilities, Auto/Labor Leader Insurance, and Internal Audit.

Technical Office Professionals (TOP)

Vice President – Rich Boyer

Stellantis
Independent Parts Supplier (IPS)

Vice President – Mike Booth

General Motors
Gaming, Gaming Organizing

Vice President – Chuck Browning

Ford
Agricultural Implement
Chaplaincy

Run-off elections for three IEB members (president, vice president and region 9 director) will be conducted next year.  Ballots will start to be mailed out January 12th, 2023.

[foogallery id=”34908″]