Auto workers ratify deal to make EV batteries for GM at Ohio plant

Workers at an electric vehicle battery plant ratified a deal between the United Auto Workers union and Ultium Cells to make batteries for General Motors’ electric vehicles.

On Sunday, Ultium — a joint venture between GM and LG — announced that 1,600 of its hourly employees will be represented by the contract, which goes into effect on Monday.

The contract includes higher wages, overtime provisions, 70 minutes of breaks per shift and the implementation of health and safety programs.

The deal for workers at the Lordstown, Ohio, plant was tentatively announced last week, and ratified over the weekend.

It comes amid broader questions surrounding whether workers who build electric vehicles will make the same wages as those who make gas-powered cars, particularly as traditionally unionized automakers like GM make a larger foray into a space with historically non-union players like Tesla.

President Biden, who has grappled politically with the labor implications of the nation’s move toward electric vehicles, celebrated the agreement in a statement — and sought to contrast his administration’s policies with those of presidential rival Donald Trump.

“Five years ago, the previous administration made false promises to Lordstown workers – and then stood by as the community lost jobs and faced economic devastation. Today, Lordstown is a comeback story and it didn’t happen by accident,” Biden said in a written statement.

“With the help of my Investing in America agenda, the UAW and companies like General Motors are building the future of autos in America while we bring back good paying union jobs to communities like Lordstown,” he added.

The Biden administration has pushed electric vehicles as a tool for combating climate change. However, Trump has railed against these vehicles, warning that they could result in job losses for autoworkers.

The conflict, both among the candidates and for the workers themselves, came to a head amid broader strikes last year.

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