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Good news for U.S. automotive workers and fans of American cars: General Motors is making a multimillion-dollar reinvestment in two large factories in the States. GM has committed $300 million to revitalize a factory in Tonawanda, New York and almost $400 million to do the same in Fairfax, an industrial district outside Kansas City.

These plants got a new lease on life thanks to a combination of labor pressure and shifting business strategy, particularly GM’s commitment to a company-wide transition from gas to electric propulsion.

How the UAW strike helped these plants

The Fairfax and Tonawanda plants owe much of their future to labor organizing on the part of United Auto Workers. UAW struck against Detroit’s Big Three—GM, Ford, and Stellantis—on September 15, 2023, seeking an increase in stagnant wages, better benefits for current and retired auto workers, and greater investment in U.S. car manufacturing.

On October 30, UAW members approved a tentative agreement with GM, voting in favor of a contract that delivered on virtually all of their demands. In particular, GM made a binding commitment to reinvest in the Fairfax and Tonawanda plants. The strike obtained similar results from other automakers: notably, Stellantis committed to building a $3.2 billion battery plant in Belvidere, Illinois.

GM plants in New York and Kansas will help with EV production

According to GM Authority, Fairfax and Tonawanda will be tasked to build EVs for GM’s ongoing transition to electric propulsion. The Fairfax plant, which has historically built Cadillac and Chevrolet model lines, will be a major mover in transitioning those brands to electric power.

Cadillac, in particular, is expected to be all-electric by 2030. Tonawanda is an engine plant, and is currently expected to add EV drive units to its usual run of classic GM V8s.

How these facilities fit into GM’s broader EV goals

GM envisions an electric future. America’s largest automaker has publicly committed to go all-electric by 2035, expecting to spend $35 billion in the process. 

Reinvestment in American manufacturing is a core part of GM’s electric dreams. Along with the Fairfax and Tonawanda plants being reworked into EV factories, facilities all over the US have received massive infusions of capital meant to get GM’s manufacturing infrastructure ready to build EVs. As of November 6, GM has invested almost $8.5 billion in transitioning its American factories to EV manufacturing.


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