After months of news reports and guessing of “will they” or “won’t they?” employees at Fuyao Glass America Inc. voted against joining the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. According to the UAW website, the vote was 444 in favor to 868 against the union.
Jeff Daochuan Liu, president of Fuyao Glass America, spoke to AGRR editorial director Tara Taffera about a wide range of industry subjects on October 25. He referenced the upcoming union vote mentioning the “outside forces” at play and said the “outside rumors are wrong.”
“Those issues have created challenges for production,” he said. “But we believe most of the employees will make the right choice, and we know what we can do for our employees. We carry on our business despite these distractions and continue to improve our work.”
Following are a few more excerpts from that conversation as it relates to employees. For the full interview, look to the upcoming November-December issue of AGRR magazine.
Taffera: In April you gave all hourly associates a pay raise. Was that effective in raising morale and keeping good workers and attracting employees?
Liu: That really helped raising company morale and helped employee retention. We have our own recruiting team now instead of using a third party. Prior to this, the turnover was high, but once we brought recruiting in-house, that number dropped a lot. We also have a Continual Improvement Process (CIP), and when a goal is reached we take 5 percent and give it back to the employee.
Our employees now make a minimum of $14.84 an hour after probation period, and the healthcare and 401(k) package is much better than many other companies, including GM, where I came from. We have decreased our healthcare premiums in 2017, and in 2018 they will be decreased even more … All the rumors from outside are wrong.
For seven years, Fuyao has been voted the best employer in China. My boss said, “Jeff, you want to do the same in the U.S.” That is my goal—to have the best company in Ohio.
Taffera: Let’s talk about those outside forces …
Liu: If employees here unionize, the union would collect $2.2 million in dues. From my point of view, that’s a lottery win for them. You can ask them what they can do for employees. I have two teenagers: one boy and one girl, and we constantly have issues. Can you imagine what it’s like with 2,000 employees? Do you pay someone to be the middleman to resolve your family issues? If you have a third party you add a layer for communications, and that will only make your communication more complicated and time consuming.
In this region, many employees grew up in a union environment, and some believe the union is going to help them. But if you look at unions as a whole, you can see the trend. Union memberships keep dropping. That’s a fact. My background is mathematics, and I want to follow the data. November14 is my one-year anniversary here: give me some time. We believe we can resolve these issues inside the company.
Taffera: What’s next for Fuyao?
Liu: We are going to continue to improve everything—including safety. I am going to offer the best package for employees. My goal is to become the best employer in Ohio and even the United States.