UAW Workers in Ohio Who Supply Batteries to GM, Ford Are On Strike

·2 min read
Screenshot:  13ABC Action News
Screenshot: 13ABC Action News

United Auto Workers union members at a Clarios vehicle battery plant in Holland, Ohio, started striking on Monday after voting down a contract proposal. According to 13ABC Action News, there are about 400 members striking from UAW Local 12. In total, about 650 employees work at this plant, and they produce between 125,000 to 150,000 batteries per week for Ford and General Motors.

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All in all, Clarios is reportedly a global leader in producing low-voltage batteries for a range of vehicles with 18 plants and 5,800 employees across the U.S.

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“This is really going to hurt their delivery to these companies,” Bruce Baumhower, UAW Local 12 president, told Automotive News.

13ABC reports that contract negotiations at the plant originally began in April since the previous contract was set to expire on April 19. Then, on April 27, UAW-represented employees voted down a proposed agreement that –according to Clarios – was supported by the bargaining committee. But, that wasn’t enough.

Internal communication to members obtained by 13ABC says that the proposal was voted down by 98 percent. The email also claims that the company failed to move and is looking to change the work schedule from an eight-hour shift to a twelve-hour shift with no overtime pay. Under the old contract, workers would receive time-and-a-half pay for another over eight hours per day. Clarios also reportedly was booking to cut members’ pay.

“Our members deserve better,” the email reportedly stated. “Your support will be greatly appreciated.”

Clarios claims to 13ABC that the company has been working in good faith with the union to come to a contract agreement.

“We remain optimistic as we’ve reached agreements with all of our union during recent contract negotiations. Unfortunately, our first offer was not accepted, but we are dedicated to continuing good-faith negotiations to reach a contract that focuses on the future and supports our customers,” a spokesperson for Clarios told 13ABC in a statement.

I think there’s a simple solution here. Give your workers what they’re asking, and the strike will end. I’m no genius, but I can figure this one out.

“We’ve been grinding. We’ve been working. We’ve been making a lot of batteries for this company. And even with inflation and everything going on right now, they’ve been cutting our rates, cutting our wages, and they’re currently in contract talks. And, the plant manager is not willing to negotiate – not willing to negotiate at all. So, we want some of our money back,” Walter Pope, a striking Clarios Employee, told 13ABC. “We want better pay rates, and we basically want to be treated fairly.”

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