By Anan Ashraf
LORDSTOWN, Ohio — The United Auto Workers union has released a report shedding light on the dangerous working conditions and inadequate wages at Ultium Cells Lordstown in Ohio. This facility, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, produces batteries for GM’s electric vehicles.
“Workers at Ultium Cells Lordstown were initially paid a starting wage of $16.5 per hour when the plant opened in the summer of 2022, despite qualifying for tax credits worth over $1 billion annually,” said the report. Additionally, the report highlights serious health and safety issues faced by the workers, including exposure to toxic fumes.
On Injury, Safety Records: The report references a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which states that 22 workers suffered recordable injuries in the first five months of operation. Ultium Cells Lordstown has even paid $68,000 in fines to OSHA in 2022.
Call For Fair Transition: The UAW report emphasizes the need for a fair transition to electric vehicles, where workers are not left behind. It points out that hourly wages in EV battery plants are significantly lower compared to existing powertrain facilities, and that health and safety standards fall short of those in the unionized auto industry.
Upcoming Contract Talks: The UAW intends to initiate contract negotiations with Stellantis NV, Ford Motor Co, and GM on Thursday, as the current four-year labor deal is set to expire in mid-September. The union — which has over 400,000 active members and over 580,000 retired members across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico — aims to address the issues raised in the report and ensure fair working conditions for auto industry workers in the EV transition.
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