The workers of Ultium Cells in Lordstown have been on a rollercoaster ride during the six-week strike between the Big Three Automakers. On Friday afternoon, United Auto Workers union leaders met in Detroit to vote on whether to send the tentative agreement to its membership.

And if union workers approve the tentative agreement, former GM Lordstown workers will be the first to be offered the opportunity to return home to the Valley.

The workers have had dangled in front of them the possibility of the facility being added to the General Motors master agreement, which would mean not only the opportunity for more money but also job security, offering the ability for workers in the electric vehicle sector to transfer to vehicle, parts, motors or transmission facilities in the US and vice-versa.

This would mean that some of the displaced former GM Lordstown workers would also be given first chance at an opportunity to return home if they choose.

On October 6, GM CEO Mary Barro offered to bring Ultium Cells under the scope of the master agreement, which UAW leader Shawn Fain touted at the time as a major step in the future for autoworkers moving forward.

However, weeks later Fain told reporters on the picket lines in Michigan that talks for EV battery plants to be added to the master agreement was “ ...dead in the water. ... I don't want to talk about batteries right now.”

On October 30, the UAW leadership and GM reached a tentative contract, which ultimately included rolling the Ultium Cells workers in Lordstown and future workers in the EV battery plants, including the Springhill, Tenn. Ultium facility, which is scheduled to open in early 2024.

According to sources familiar with the information, any former Lordstown employee who worked at the plant on November 26, 2018 will be given a one-time, first-chance opportunity to transfer to the Ultium Cells EV battery plant, keeping their pay and seniority.

Ultium Cells currently has more than 1,750 employees and is looking to add another 250 by the end of the year, both of which are above the number of workers at the plant when it closed in 2019. At one time, more than 12,000 worked at GM Lordstown.

The contract to be voted on includes a 25 percent increase in base wages through April 2028 and will cumulatively raise the top wage by 33 percent compounded with a cost-of-living agreement (COLA) to more than $42 an hour, according to the UAW. Starting wages will increase by 70 percent compounded with a COLA to more than $30 per hour.

The agreement removed several wage tiers and brought another company, GM Subsystems, under the master agreement.