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General Motors Ultium Battery Factory agrees to raise Workers' wages by 25%

2024-06-17 Update From: AutoBeta autobeta NAV: AutoBeta > News >


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On August 25th, the United Auto Workers (UAW) announced the result of the strike authorization vote. Ultium, a new energy battery company that is a joint venture between GM and LG New Energy (LG Energy Solution), has agreed to raise wages at its Ohio battery plant by an average of 25 per cent after negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW), the announcement said.


It is understood that the contracts of UAW employees are re-signed with the three major vehicle manufacturers in North America every four years, and the last labor negotiation was in September 2019, but the negotiators initially failed to reach an agreement. The UAW leader's 40-day general strike against GM brought GM a loss of more than $3.6 billion in profits.

In the past two years, persistently high inflation in the United States has brought tremendous pressure on the working class. Since 2023, various industries have been afraid of workers frequently. In July this year, a new round of labor contract negotiations began, but the negotiations with General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis Group are also not smooth. If the negotiations fail to reach an agreement, it may trigger a new round of strike, and the strike will also bring high losses, among which General Motors is at greater risk of becoming a strike target.

It is understood that the starting salary of UAW employees is about $18 per hour, and the maximum wage for workers who have reached a certain length of service is about $32 per hour. Earlier this year, Fane, chairman of UAW, presented a list of demands to each carmaker, including salary increases of more than 40 per cent and inflation protection measures. If the US automakers agree to all the union's demands, they will lose 80 billion dollars, so in the four-year agreement, the car companies rejected most of the demands, but if they refused all of them, it would also trigger a new round of strike. there will also be huge losses. Of course, even through a strike, the two sides have to compromise, but in any case, American automakers will have to pay more for it, but it's just a matter of more or less.


Currently, Ultium production workers earn about $20 to $25 an hour, while maintenance workers earn about $25 to $34.60 an hour. The union said the wage increase was $3 to $4 an hour. However, judging from the current salary level, even if the salary is raised, it is still lower than the $32 per hour wage for assembly workers in car companies. The provisional agreement is still subject to workers' approval, and the vote for approval of UAW members is expected to close on Aug. 27. Once approved, eligible current employees can receive an one-time payment of $3000 to $7000 according to their working hours.

According to Kareem Maine, director of the Ultium Ohio plant, the outcome of the negotiations was a major victory for workers. "We will continue to negotiate with UAW in good faith to reach a comprehensive contract," it said in a statement. Our team members are at the heart of our business and are proud to be able to reach an interim agreement for a raise. "

The plant is currently GM's only battery plant in operation, and a second battery plant in Tennessee is currently under construction and is expected to open later in 2023, according to the data. The third Ultium battery plant in Michigan is expected to open in 2024.

The battery factory supplies batteries for electric vehicles such as GM's Cadillac Lyriq and Hummer electric pickups. Pay has been one of the biggest problems facing the battery plant, with Ultium workers paying only half the maximum wage at GM's assembly plant. Last December, the workers in the factory voted to join the union.

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