Fuayo Glass America Inc. (Fuyao) will not be prosecuted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because the allegations made against the auto glass company in “American Factory” were not timely, according to an agency official.
Patricia Nachand, NLRB Ohio acting regional director, dismissed an unfair labor practice charge filed by David Gomez, a municipal attorney, against Fuyao in August 2019, a day after the award-winning documentary was released on Netflix. The documentary highlighted the challenges the Chinese-owned, Ohio-based plant had when it opened. According to Nanchand, Gomez’s complaint was filed outside of the six-month filing period, which began when a former employee became aware of the alleged violation in January 2019. Gomez alleged Fuyao violated workers’ National Labor Relations Act rights through alleged threats the filmmakers captured that were shown in the documentary.
“The investigation disclosed that the alleged unlawful statements were made while the documentary was being filmed in 2017 by independent filmmakers and that they were made outside [of] the presence of employees,” said Nachand. “Your charge is untimely because it was filed more than 2 years after the alleged unlawful statements were made and over 6 months after employees were put on notice of those statements at the Sundance Film Festival.”
Nanchand also noted Fuyao has already resolved similar charges involving conduct and that prosecuting the auto glass company for the alleged violations “wouldn’t further the purposes of federal labor law.” Fuyao previously agreed to post notices at the factory to inform its employees about their rights on the job, according to Nachand. She also said some of the comments in the case wouldn’t have been found illegal because employees didn’t overhear them.
“Even if employees had been present and coerced by the statements at the time they were made, to litigate the statements’ alleged illegality now, three years later, would result in a largely duplicative remedy,” Nachand said.