The National Labor Relation Board has dismissed a charge that Fuyao Glass America suppressed a unionization campaign at its Moraine plant.
Comments that apparently led to the charge were captured in the Oscar-winning Netflix documentary on Fuyao created by Yellow Springs filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar, “American Factory”
One scene in the documentary shows Jeff Liu, today chief executive of Fuyao Glass America, speaking in Mandarin in a meeting at the Moraine company with founder Cho Tak Wong in 2016 or 2017.
At the time, company leaders were concerned about a United Auto Workers effort to persuade Fuyao workers to approve a UAW-represented bargaining unit. Company workers ultimately rejected union representation in a November 2017 plant vote.
A subtitled translation in the film shows Liu telling the chairman he has fired supporters of the unionization effort. Firing a union-supporting worker for that reason is considered an unfair labor practice under U.S. law.
Later, when a Dayton Daily News reporter asked him about the scene, Liu called the film’s translation “misleading” and “not true.”
“I have nothing to say since it is not true statement and misleading translation in the film,” Liu said in an email in August 2019.
At the time and ever since, Bognar and Reichert have stood by the translations subtitled in the work. They said they worked with several Chinese translators to accurately render the Chinese language heard in the film into English subtitles.
Bognar said further that Liu had expressed no misgivings about the subtitles when he saw the film before its public premiere in Dayton last summer.
“We went through a rigorous process with multiple translators to do the translations,” Bognar told the Dayton Daily News last year.
In February this year, Liu and other Fuyao leaders hosted Reichert and Bognar at a company celebration honoring the filmmakers. In an interview, the chairman of Fuyao Global praised the documentary as fundamentally “American,” although he expressed some reservations about the filmmaker’s choices and points of emphasis.
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The company has faced similar NLRB-filed charges in the recent past.
Fuyao was expected to pay nearly $120,000 total to three employees and the NLRB in a 2019 settlement of charges that the Moraine auto glass producer had discharged them for supporting the creation of a union.
Matthew Denholm, assistant to the director of the NRLB’s Cincinnati office, said last week the dismissal letter could be obtained only through a Freedom of Information Act request, which the Dayton Daily News filed.
The initial charge against Fuyao was filed with the NLRB last August, shortly after “American Factory” was released on Netflix.
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