Ultium raises, bonuses will bring millions to Valley businesses, local government
After United Auto Workers for General Motors approved the four-and-a-half-year tentative agreement, with a total of 19,538 approving of the contract and 16,241 against the contract Thursday, 21 News investigate to see what the new agreement would mean for the Valley.
Lordstown Ultium Cells, 1,263 approved for contract, while 50 voted against the measure.
And what this means for the Valley is that Ultium workers will also receive raises, going from $22.50 per hour to $26.91 per hour, a bump of $4.41 per hour.
This means that former GM Lordstown, who worked at the plant on November 26, 2018, to be given a one-time, first-chance opportunity to transfer to the Ultium Cells EV battery plant, keeping their pay, seniority and their spending revenue to the Valley as well.
For example, additional money for each worker will make will be additional money that may be spent at Valley businesses and a boost to our local economy. The average salary of the Ultium production workers is approximately $22.50, and now will be receiving a boost of $4.41 per hour.
For example, this means that a worker who works a 40-hour week, and works 2,080 hours each year, times the number of employees - 1,750 employees - would mean an influx of an additional approximately $16 million in the Valley, without including the previous raises workers received in August or the additional 250 workers are looking to hire or bring back from GM Lordstown. And in additional to that figure, Ultium workers will also receive a $5,000 signing bonus each, which totaled will bring millions of additional cash to the Valley.
Shea MacMillan, Vice President, Economic Development for the Regional Chamber, told 21 News that the projected wage increases would lead to a $36 million increase in the Mahoning and Trumbull counties' Gross Domestic Product, a measure of the value of the final goods and services.
"This is obviously a tremendous economic gain for our local area and we should see a lot of additional commerce come from it as this new disposable income begins to circulate in our region," MacMillian added.
The Lordstown council president, Ronald Radtka, said they had to cut back on 60% of their expenses when GM left Lordstown back in 2019 because of the loss in tax revenue. Now that they will have more money to work with, the Radtka said they might put it towards much needed road improvements and updating village equipment like snow plows that are almost 20 years old. The Lordstown council has not officially decided what the expected increase in revenue will go towards.
Radtka said this additional revenue won't put them back to where they were before when GM was here - but it will definitely help.
The contract 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 of more than $30 per hour.