Efforts underway to form union at Rivian EV plant in Normal

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 7:27 PM CDT
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NORMAL (25News Now) - A union with almost 600,000 members is seeking to expand its ranks by organizing thousands of workers who build electric vehicles and Rivian Automotive in Normal.

The unionization effort has gained the attention of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D - IL), who brought up the topic Wednesday during a meeting in Washington with Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) created a Rivian Auto Union website stating that workers at the plant are “demanding fairness, respect and a voice on the job.”

Workers are being asked to sign authorization cards. If there’s enough interest, IAM will file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which will hold a hearing to determine who at the factory would be represented by the union. The NLRB would then hold an election requiring majority support to form a union.

Meantime, Sen. Durbin on Wednesday urged Scaringe to support the workers’ collective bargaining efforts.

“Rivian took a chance on Normal, Illinois, and it has paid off. Illinois is a leader in electric vehicle production, but only because of the unrelenting efforts of Rivian and its employees,” Durbin said in a statement.

“In meeting with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe today, I reiterated my support for the company’s mission while reminding Mr. Scaringe that Rivian employees deserve the benefits and security offered by a union if they so choose,” Durbin also said.

Rivian founder and CEP RJ Scaringe meets with Sen. Dick Durbin Wednesday in Washington.
Rivian founder and CEP RJ Scaringe meets with Sen. Dick Durbin Wednesday in Washington.(U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's office)

Rivian also released a statement Wednesday but gave no indication whether it would welcome a workers’ union.

“At Rivian, we are growing our company, culture and ramping production simultaneously. Our employees are our biggest asset, and we are working to build strong, direct relationships with them – just as we are with our customers. All Rivian team members are owners in the company, which is rare in this industry. We are committed to building a strong future together.”

A Rivian spokesperson said the company now employs about 8,000 people at its plant in Normal.