The United Auto Workers has announced that the union is committing $40 million in new organizing funds to support non-union autoworkers and battery workers organizing across the country, particularly in the South.

The UAW International Executive Board voted Tuesday to commit the funds in response to what union officials characterize as “an explosion” in organizing activity among non-union auto and battery workers, to grow the labor movement.

According to the UAW, more than ten thousand autoworkers have signed union cards to join the UAW at 14 non-union automakers from California to South Carolina.

After becoming part of the UAW, Lordstown’s Ultium Cells plant workers got their first contract under the General Motors Master Agreement following the union’s six-week strike last year.

The four-and-a-half-year contract gave Ultium’s 1,700 workers significant pay raises and other gains.

In a statement posted on the UAW website, the union says the electric vehicle battery industry is slated to add tens of thousands of jobs across the country over the next few years. New standards are being set as the industry comes online.

“These jobs will supplement, and in some cases largely replace, existing powertrain jobs in the auto industry. Through a massive new organizing effort, workers will fight to maintain and raise the standard in the emerging battery industry,” according to the UAW statement.

The union cites what it says is a growing organizing momentum, with workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga announcing majority support for the union, followed by Hyundai and Mercedes employees in Alabama.