UAW defeated in bid to organize Ohio glass facility

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

The United Auto Workers failed to organize workers at Fuyao Glass America Inc. in Ohio because of “anti-labor tactics and intimidation by management,” the union said.

Employees at the Moraine, Ohio, plant voted 886 to 441 against organizing under the UAW. That facility was a General Motors Corp. plant until 2008. When GM owned it, employees were organized under the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers — Communications Workers of America.

The Fuyao employees’ vote came less than a week after The Detroit News first reported that federal agents expanded a corruption investigation to include a member of General Motors Co.’s board and the joint union training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers. That was spurred by corruption charges filed against a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV labor executive and the wife of a deceased union vice president.

The Fuyao vote is the second recent UAW failure to organize in recent months. The UAW suffered a major defeat in August when Nissan workers in Canton, Miss., voted nearly 2-to-1 against joining the labor union. The vote followed a contentious campaign similar to what circulated in the Fuyao campaign.

The Nissan defeat marked the third time in nearly 20 years that Nissan workers in the South have voted against joining the UAW. Workers at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, plant voted against joining the UAW by 2-to-1 margins in 1989 and 2001. Nissan said then the victory over the UAW was a sign of the strength of non-unionized factories in the South.

Following the Fuyao results, the UAW said in a statement that officials are investigating “irregularities during the elections” Fuyao workers had reported.

The UAW might file objections with the National Labor Relations Board. The labor union alleges Fuyao employees have been fighting against unsafe workplace conditions and unfair treatment, among other things.

“While we respect our employees’ right to support or reject a union, we also admire their courage to reject this union’s desperate attempt to prop up its revenue in the face of declining union membership worldwide,” Jeff Daochuan Liu, Fuyao Glass America president, said in a statement.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with FGA associates to build a great company here in Moraine and to our success in the auto glass marketplace.”

The UAW now has less than a week to challenge the votes.

“It is disheartening to know that in 2017 there are companies willing to do so much to deny workers a voice and fair treatment,” Rich Rankin, UAW region 2B director, said in a news release. “Unfortunately, that is what these brave workers faced when all they have asked for is a fair path to helping this manufacturer produce the best products and live up to their commitments it made to the Dayton community.”

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau