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Is the Ground Collapsing Under the UAW?

Union can't seem to get untracked in new membership campaign.

by on Nov.10, 2017

While the UAW provided plenty of support, Fuyao Glass employees voted against union representation by a two-to-one margin. (Photo credit: UAW)

Forget the big ones, the UAW cannot seem to capture any victories these days as workers at the Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd. plant in Moraine, Ohio, voted by a better than two-to-one margin against union representation.

The loss at the glass supplier is doubly difficult as the plant is a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, which was once a union stronghold for General Motors employees. It also comes on the heels of a stinging rebuke at Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi.

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“Fuyao workers fighting for a voice in their workplace were unable to win against a barrage of anti-labor tactics and intimidation by management at the Ohio glass plant,” the UAW said in a statement. 

Fuyao is a Chinese automotive glass supplier whose customers include General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp. The company opened the plant in Moraine in 2016 as part of a $1 billion expansion in the United States.

(UAW files charges against Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant with NLRB. For more, Click Here.)

The UAW has dealt with a variety of issues in the last 18 months. Not only did the Canton vote not go its way, it also came up short at Volkswagen of America’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before that.

Despite outside support from nearby local units, employees at Fuyao voted against UAW representation. (Photo credit: UAW)

The losing streak has only been compounded by the negative publicity the union has endured due to an expanding U.S. Justice Department probe into alleged misuse of funds at UAW training centers funded by the Detroit automakers.

The probe initially focused on Fiat Chrysler, but investigators recently expanded it to include Ford and GM. While no misconduct has been revealed yet, both automakers are cooperating with the investigation.

(Click Here for details about the FCA/UAW training center investigation.)

These losses and the ongoing scandal are going to make it more difficult take on the UAW’s next big fish: Tesla. The union has been meeting with employees as part of a grassroots-style campaign to force a vote at the California-based EV maker.

It has already filed several complaints with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of current and former employees about the working conditions in the maker’s Fremont, California, plant. The UAW charges the company intimidated and harassed employees, terminated a group of employees to discourage protected pro-union activity and disciplined employees for wearing items with the UAW logo.

In addition, Tesla “terminated or disciplined” employees in retaliation for participating in protected concerted activities, and more, the union said. Tesla, which recently fired hundreds of employees from its motor division for what were described as “performance issues,” has not confirmed how many employees were terminated several pro-union employees were fired from jobs at the company’s factory in Fremont, and plans to fight the charges.

(To see more about the UAW’s loss at Nissan’s Mississippi plant, Click Here.)

“No one at Tesla has ever or will ever have any action taken against them based on their feelings on unionization. It’s worth remembering that each year,” the spokesperson said, noting that roughly 20,000 ULPs are filed with the NLRB by unions like the UAW as an organizing tactic.

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