Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on EV battery plant union vote

The hourly workforce at Ultium Cells LLC, the joint venture owned by General Motors and battery maker LG Energy Solution, has voted to unionize its plant in northeast Ohio after the union and the company spent months at odds over the organizing process. About 1:30 Friday morning, the UAW released the results of a two-day vote that started Wednesday and ended at 11 p.m. Thursday. The workers at the plant, located near GM's former Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio, voted in favor of joining the UAW by a vote of 710 to 16, the UAW said. Experts say the victory is significant for the UAW's future. It should enhance the UAW's bargaining power with the Detroit Three automakers later next year, for example, and it signals that Ultium's two other plants — one being built in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and the other in Lansing — will likely also vote yes for union representation. "If the UAW draws the important lessons from this win and uses the knowledge to replicate success in other comparable situations of joint ventures, then it will have performed its mission well," said Marick Masters, a professor of business at Wayne State University and an expert on unions. "The ultimate objective of unionizing is to improve the working conditions of people and build a stronger middle class. This victory is another signal that there is considerable support for unions that can result in bargaining representation if workers are given a fair chance to exercise their voice without undue employer interference."

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