Defective Battery Incident Sparks Safety Demands in General Motors' Ultium Plant Amid UAW Contract Talks

In late June, workers at General Motors Co's GM Ultium electric-vehicle plant in Lordstown, Ohio, confronted a defective battery that caught fire.

The incident did not involve any life-threatening injuries.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union and Ultium Cells LLC, jointly owned by GM and LG Energy Solution, are negotiating a labor contract, Bloomberg reports.

The UAW is seeking better safety protections following multiple accidents at the plant, where 22 workers have suffered injuries and missed 200 work days.

Ultium paid $68,000 in fines to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2022.

The UAW is pushing to include Ultium workers in its master-labor agreement with major Detroit car companies.

Workers at the Ultium plant make up to $22 per hour, while engine plant workers covered by the master-labor agreement make over $30 per hour.

The U.S. is building up its EV industry and will require many workers, making the negotiations critical.

Automakers and battery partners are under pressure to control costs as they expand their operations in the EV market.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, General Motors expects to earn $300 million in tax credits this year and aims to build 1 million EVs annually by 2025, potentially yielding between $3.5 billion - $5.5 billion in sales.

The UAW emphasizes the need for fair standards and wages, citing concerns about poverty wages and poor health and safety conditions at Ultium despite the company receiving over $1 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives.

In June, General Motors snapped Algolion, an Israel-based software startup that can detect potential hazards in battery cells.

The 9-year-old startup developed software that uses data streams from EV battery management systems to help identify anomalies in cell performance. 

Price Action: GM shares traded higher by 0.03% at $39.47 on the last check Friday.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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