GM agrees to place EV battery manufacturing under UAW agreement
General Motors (GM) has agreed to place battery manufacturing for electric vehicles (EVs) under its main agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, UAW President Shawn Fain announced on Friday.
Fain said the union won’t expand its strike against the Big Three automakers following the the last-minute development in negotiations.
“We’ve been told for months that this is impossible,” Fain said.
“We’ve been told the EV future must be a race to the bottom. And now we’ve called their bluff.”
GM’s commitment to use UAW workers for EV battery manufacturing is a massive victory for the union.
Autoworkers have expressed deep concerns about the shift toward EVs given that most are made with non-union labor and outside of the U.S.
The UAW was initially prepared to call on members to walk out at one of GM’s “biggest and most important plants” in Arlington, Texas, Fain said. However, after the “transformative win,” he opted not to call for additional strikes.
“What this will mean for our membership cannot be understated,” Fain said. “The plan was to draw down engine and transmission plants and permanently replace them with low-wage battery jobs.”
“We had a different plan, and our plan is winning at GM,” he continued. “And we expect it to win at Ford and Stellantis as well.”
The UAW launched its strike last month at a small number of facilities, after failing to reach an agreement with the Big Three before its previous contract ended. Fain called on additional members to walk out the past two Fridays, bringing the total number of striking autoworkers to 25,000.
Fain emphasized during this week’s bargaining update that the union has “been very careful about how we escalate this strike” in order to move Ford, GM and Stellantis in their direction on negotiations.
“Today is a perfect example of that,” he said. “We know their pain points, we know their moneymakers, and we know the plants they really don’t want to see struck. And they know we’ve got more cards left to play.”