After the attempt to establish a union at the Nissan facility in Canton, Miss., fell flat, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has its sights set on Fuyao Glass America’s Moraine, Ohio, plant. UAW reported that employees at the facility filed a request with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a representation election on Monday.
The organization claims the request is in response to low wages, unfair and unequal treatment of employees and unsafe work conditions.
The UAW says it has been pushing to establish a union at the facility as early as April due to reported low wages and failed attempts by employees to form a union on their own.
“It has been hard because we are all working so hard for the company,” said Jeremy Grant, who works in Fuyao’s Pre- Process ARG, in UAW’s statement. “In return, we come to work facing constantly changing rules, communication barriers with our supervisors and no way to be heard about changes that will help us all win.”
However, according to a statement from Fuyao, Jeff Daochuan Liu, president of Fuyao Glass America, believes maintaining a direct relationship with its employees is in the best interest of its “associates, customers, business partners, the State of Ohio, and the Dayton community …”
“Fuyao is among the first large Chinese manufacturers to establish significant operations in the United States,” said Liu. “Other investors are watching us closely [to see] what happens here.”
The facility opened in October 2016 as one of the world’s largest glass fabrication plants—a sprawling 116-acre facility which currently houses 2,000 employees—and it was a welcomed addition to the community, according to several of its workers. However, they say expectations have fallen short.
“When I heard about the tax breaks Fuyao received for opening this plant, I thought that would be great for the community, and I wanted to be part of that,” said Teodore Searcy, employee in the company’s tempering OEM department, to UAW. “Now my concern is that this company can’t help the community if it can’t help its workers and that jeopardizes me, my family and everyone who is depending on Fuyao to be a good citizen.”
In order to schedule a representation election, federal law requires 30 percent of a company’s workforce to have signed off on the request, however the UAW has not disclosed the number of signatures that were sent to the NLRB.
“We became profitable only months ago,” said Tim Reynolds, vice president of the company’s OEM operations. “This achievement has not been because of a third party like the UAW. It has been the result of teamwork – our folks coming together, learning how to design, make, and ship good glass and driving improvements in safety and efficiency.”
In an email to glassBYTEs.com, Micah Siegal, general counsel, Fuyao Glass America, said it respects its employees’ decision to choose for themselves whether to be represented by a union or not.
The date for the secret ballot vote on whether or not the union will be established has yet to be set. According to FuyaoForward.org, workers will know an exact date in the coming weeks.