Detroit News: Marick Masters on UAW EV battery plant win

The United Auto Workers' success this week in organizing its first joint-venture battery plant owned by a Detroit Three automaker will aid the union in its fight to organize other similar plants and bolster its position in the changing industry, experts say. Workers at the General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution joint-venture Ultium Cells LLC plant in Warren, Ohio, this week overwhelmingly voted in favor of UAW representation, with 710 voting for the union and 16 voting against it. The plant is one of four U.S. facilities the companies are planning to open. Production launched first at the Warren facility this past summer. The Warren Ultium facility is the first of several battery plants the UAW will look to organize as the Detroit automakers progress with their EV plans. The organization efforts come less than a year before the UAW starts national contract talks with the automakers, which are likely to focus on preserving union jobs in the move to EVs. "The successful organizing of the new wave of electric battery manufacturing is essential to the UAW's future position," said Marick Masters, a professor at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business, in a statement. The UAW's challenge now will be "to meld the representation of these workers into the overall fabric of the auto negotiations so as (to) protect jobs and wages," Masters said. "These workers should become ambassadors for the UAW's efforts to replicate this success in other facilities in the offing and in the facilities of the nonunion electrical vehicle manufacturers such as Rivian and Tesla."

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