This case study of Ultium Cells Lordstown shows there is a real danger that hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars will subsidize an EV industry that underpays and endangers workers.
Ultium is a joint venture of General Motors and LG Energy Solution. Its Lordstown, Ohio, plant makes the battery cells that power GM’s growing EV fleet. Ultium’s Lordstown plant could qualify for tax credits worth more than $1 billion a year.
Despite this potentially massive subsidy, Ultium offered workers a starting wage of just $16.50 an hour when it opened in the summer of 2022. Even after seven years, workers would make just $20 an hour. Troublingly, Ultium workers have also reported serious health and safety problems at the plant.
Facing hazardous conditions and low pay, the Lordstown workers organized with the UAW and voted 710 to 16 to join the union. Ultium’s Lordstown workers are showing there’s a better way forward for EV manufacturing in America. A way that maintains the same strong pay and safety standards that UAW members have won at Big Three plants across the country.