© Reuters. A sign for the General Motors (GM) powertrain plant is seen in front of the assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. March 6, 2019. Photo taken March 6, 2019. REUTERS / Rebecca Cook
By Joseph White and David Shepardson
TOLEDO, Ohio/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. auto workers will seek faster recognition from GM without requiring a vote on behalf of hourly workers in a joint venture U.S. battery plant growing, the union said Friday.
UAW President Ray Curry, speaking at an event in Toledo, Ohio where GM announced it would invest $760 million, said the union would seek permission to “check the card” to bypass a secret ballot. .
Under that process, the majority of factory hourly workers could simply sign a pro-union card and once certified an election would not be necessary.
Last month, General Motors (NYSE:) and LG Energy Solution’s Ultium battery plant began production in Lordstown, Ohio.
Curry said 90% of workers at the factory signed cards in support of the union. “Ultium did not agree” to recognize the UAW without a vote, Curry said.
Ultium on Friday disapproved of the UAW’s proposal, but said it “respects the workers’ right to union and the efforts of the UAW or any other union to organize workers to make batteries at facilities.” our production facility.”
The joint venture said it would comply with federal labor laws that “protect our employees’ right to decide on the matter of union representation through a voluntary democratic election.”
The 2.8-million-square-foot Ultium Cells LLC plant in Lordstown is the first of at least four plants in the U.S. planned to supply GM’s electric vehicles. The factory has more than 800 employees and is preparing to ramp up production.
GM has previously expressed support for the UAW’s efforts to organize Ultium’s battery plants, but did not endorse “checking the card.
In May, President Joe Biden, during a trip to South Korea, expressed support for workers seeking to consolidate joint venture battery factories. Detroit’s Big Three automakers all have battery plants working with Korean partners.
“For every electric vehicle battery joint venture that will be made stronger by collective bargaining relationships with American unions,” Biden said.
Last month, GM and LG Energy said they were considering a location in New Carlisle, Indiana, for a fourth US battery plant.
They are building a $2.6 billion battery plant in Lansing, Michigan, scheduled to open in late 2024, and a $2.3 billion plant in Tennessee to be completed in 2023.