general motors

Here are Yellen’s comments at Ultium’s new Spring Hill battery plant

Here are U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke at the site of Ultium Cells’ new electric vehicle battery factory near the General Motors plant in Spring Hill on Wednesday. Here are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for that kind introduction. I’m grateful to the leaders and workers of Ultium Cells for having me here today. Construction sites like this give me hope – because they mean that we are in the process of building something new. In this case, it’s a 2.8-million-square foot factory with some of the most advanced battery manufacturing processes in the world. And it’s a factory that will support 1,700 high-tech jobs.

The good news is that new factories are not just being built in Spring Hill. All over the country, we are seeing a wave of investments in American manufacturing. This is thanks to the hard work of leaders like Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee. As the President laid out last night, the Biden economic plan is working – and the results are beginning to reveal themselves.

Today, I’d like to speak to you about the President’s economic plan: the progress we’ve achieved and the work that lies ahead. I’ll first begin with our plan to rescue the economy from the depths of the pandemic. That was in 2021. Then, I’ll turn to the historic economic legislation we enacted in 2022. And finally, I’ll talk about 2023 and beyond: the years when we harness the promise of our plan.


When the President took office, our country was in the depths of the pandemic. About 400,000 Americans had died from COVID. Three thousand more were dying each day. The public health calamity had triggered an economic one. In January 2021, about 800,000 Americans were filing jobless claims each week. That was higher than the worst moments of the Great Recession. The effects of this economic catastrophe were not just captured in staggering numbers. They were felt by millions across the country. Two years ago, President Biden said in his first address to Congress that: “one of the defining images…of this crisis…has been cars lined up…for miles… waiting for a box of food to be put in their trunk.” 

The truth is: in 2020 and 2021, we faced the tail risk of an economic crisis that could match the Great Depression. Short of that, we faced the possibility of a protracted economic downturn that would cast a long shadow on the rest of the decade – with millions of homes, businesses, and livelihoods lost, many to never return.

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Report ranks Tennessee 20th for transportation electrification (UPDATED)

Gov. Bill Lee attends a groundbreaking ceremony for an electric vehicle expansion of the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga on November 13, 2019. (Image credit: State of Tennessee)

While automakers with assembly plants in Tennessee are ramping up plans to churn out more electric vehicles, the state is receiving middling grades for policies promoting zero-emissions transportation.

According to the report released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Tennessee ranks 20th in the country. Top-rated California received 91 out of 100 possible points, followed by New York (64.5 points), the District of Columbia (59 points), Maryland (56 points) and Massachusetts (54.5 points).

Tennessee received 30.5 points on the group’s scale, placing it behind Virginia (36 points) and North Carolina (31.5 points) in the Southeast.

Tennessee was awarded seven of 17 possible points for planning an goals, 9.5 of 30 for incentives for electric vehicle deployment, one of 12 for transportation system efficiency, 5.5 of 10 for electric grid organization, two of 10 for equity, and 5.5 of 21 for outcomes.

UPDATE: The state and the Tennessee Valley Authority on Wednesday announced a partnership to develop a statewide electric vehicle fast-charging network. Under the agreement, charging stations will be located every 50 miles along interstates and major highways.

The full release follows.

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UAW workers at GM plant in Spring Hill narrowly reject deal

United Auto Workers union members at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill have narrowly rejected a tentative national agreement for a new contract. Workers have been on strike for more than a month.

The vote was 1,673 against the deal and 1,666 in favor. The ratification of the deal will be determined by the total UAW membership around the country. Voting is expected to be completed by Friday.

GM plants in Spring Hill and Lansing, Mich., would be in line to make a next generation midsize SUV under the deal. Making the new vehicle is projected to cost $1 billion and create 5,000 jobs.

UAW-covered workers would receive a $11,000 signing bonus upon ratification of the contract, while temporary workers would get $4,500.

Workers would receive 4% lump sum payments in the first and third years of the contract, and 3% wage hikes in the second and fourth years. The agreement also envisions an accelerated path for temporary workers to become employees.


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