August 02, 2023

Wyden, Merkley, Colleagues Call on Auto Companies to Include all Battery Plant Workers in National Union Contract

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are calling on General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford Motor Company to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair outcome that folds in workers at all joint venture electric vehicle battery facilities into the national United Auto Workers union contract. 

Profits should translate to gains for workers. It is unacceptable that in the midst of extreme financial gains for the companies, executives, and investors, the workers making the electric vehicle batteries that will enable a transition to clean energy vehicles are making poverty-level wages. Before the expiration of UAW’s contract, we urge you to announce that all electric vehicle workers at these joint ventures will be folded into the national UAW contract,” Wyden, Merkley, and Senate colleagues wrote to the CEOs of the big three auto companies.

In the letter, Wyden and Merkley note that between 2013 and 2022, General Motors made more than $100 billion in profits and Ford Motor Company made more than $75 billion in profits. Stellantis announced almost $18 billion in profits in 2022 alone. Despite these massive profits, General Motors and Stellantis have both announced plans to restart billion-dollar stock buyback programs rather than invest in their workers. The starting wage at any current American joint venture electric vehicle battery facility is $16 an hour.

The letter was led by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Alongside Wyden and Merkley, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., John Fetterman, D-Pa., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Peter Welch, D-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

The text of the letter is here.