UNION, AUTOMAKERS HEADED FOR FIGHT OVER BATTERY PLANT WAGES
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #495 *Special Edition
The United Auto Workers union is calling on General Motors to pay full union wages at electric vehicle battery factories, thrusting what had been a festering conflict into the spotlight.

The union, in a statement reacting to GM’s announcement that it would build a second U.S. battery plant, said the company and its joint venture partner have a “moral obligation” to pay the higher wages at battery factories.

The statement sets the tone for the next round of contract talks in 2023 between GM, Ford and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler), all of which have plans to make significant numbers of battery-powered vehicles by then as they invest billions to transition from internal combustion engines.

However the conflict is resolved, it’s likely to chart the course of American manufacturing wages into the next decade as the nation moves from petroleum powered vehicles to those that run on electricity.

GM said wages at the battery plants would be determined by Ultium Cells LLC, the joint venture with LG Energy that’s running the factories.

GM and LG Energy Solutions, its partner on the new plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and another under construction in Lordstown, Ohio, near Cleveland, should work with the UAW “to make sure these are good-paying union jobs like those of their brothers and sisters who make internal combustion engines,” the union statement said.

It also could draw President Joe Biden into the fray, because he is pushing the transition to EVs, which he says will create “good-paying, union jobs of the future.”

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