YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Senator Sherrod Brown was in Youngstown Tuesday. He made a visit to the Royal Oaks in support of Nan Whaley, candidate for governor.

Tuesday morning, Brown sent out a statement after learning that Ultium Cells refused to recognize workers’ desire to unionize as part of the United Auto Workers. Brown said he stands with the workers.

“I’ve already called the company and told them how disappointed I was that they will not recognize card check, that they’re gonna force this to a vote. In the end, that’s fine because the workers overwhelmingly are gonna vote for this union,” Brown said.

Congressman Tim Ryan also sent out the following statement:

“I stand with the workers employed at Ultium’s battery plant— a majority of whom have decided to unionize as part of the United Auto Workers. The auto industry was built on the backs of UAW workers here in the Valley. If we want to give our workers a fighting chance at leading this industry into the future once again, it is vital we protect their legal right to join a union and engage in the collective bargaining process. I’m calling on Ultium to fully recognize and abide by all applicable laws as the union certification process continues.”

Monday, UAW filed a petition for election with the Cleveland office of the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the approximately 900 workers at Ultium Cells.

Back in September, the workers overwhelmingly voted to strike if the company does not recognize their right to form a union. As of now, it’s unclear if or when that will happen.

Broke Waid, a spokeswoman for Ultium Cells, released the following statement on Wednesday:

Ultium Cells respects workers’ freedom to choose union representation and the efforts of the UAW to organize battery cell manufacturing workers at our Ohio manufacturing site  Ultium Cells will comply with the National Labor Relations Act, which protects our employees’ right to freely decide unionization through a voluntary election conducted by the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board). 

Ultium Cells believes the right to a personal and private vote is important.