Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on union support at new GM battery factories

General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution on Tuesday expressed support for unions and recognized the workers' rights to unionize the companies' joint venture Ultium Cells LLC battery plants. In the past, GM and LG, through Ultium Cells, remained neutral on the topic, saying it would be up to the workforce at the plants they're building in Ohio and Tennessee to decide if they want union representation. Marick Masters, a professor of business and the former director of labor studies at Wayne State University, said Tuesday the statement from the companies "reflects a commitment to support, at least philosophically, the representation of the new Ultium Cells workforce by the UAW." But it's still unclear "whether Ultium might agree to take other steps to facilitate organizing, such as recognizing the union if a majority of members of the prospective bargaining unit sign cards authorizing UAW representation," he said. "It will be important for the UAW to establish majority status, especially if it wants to avoid the prospect of a dissident group of workers that might wish to remain union-free," Masters said. "The landscape here is ripe for intense efforts both to support union organizing and to oppose it.  A variety of outside groups may choose to get involved to push their point of view."

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