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NLRB attorney: Fuyao is ‘impeding’ investigation

Fuyao Glass America is impeding a National Labor Relations Board investigation, a board attorney told a federal court this week.

It appears the NLRB is still trying to get information from Fuyao Glass America, with an attorney indicating to federal court Thursday that he has filed an electronic subpoena with Fuyao and others in an investigation into how Fuyao allegedly treated United Auto Workers supporters.

The attorney for the NLRB, Joseph Tansino, told Cincinnati’s federal court in a filing Tuesday that Fuyao “has impeded and continues to impede the unfair labor practice investigation before the board and is preventing the board from carrying out its duties and functions under the Act.”

It appears also that the NLRB has served another subpoena on Fuyao, seeking employee information. That document, dated Thursday, indicates that Tom Thompson, human resources manager for Fuyao, was among those served with the subpoena.

The NLRB’s Cincinnati office has been investigating whether Fuyao fired employees for support of the UAW, a union which in recent years unsuccessfully sought to organize Fuyao’s West Stroop Road plant in Moraine.

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According to an allegation by the UAW filed with the NLRB in June 2017, Fuyao “discriminated” against employee Kim Lewis by terminating her “because of her support for the UAW and other protected concerted activity.”

“Within the last six months, the above-named employer, through its agents, informed employees that they could not wear a UAW hat to work,” the complaint says.

In May 2016, the UAW also filed an NLRB charge against Fuyao, claiming the company discharged an employee, Adam Moffitt, “because of his support” for the union.

Last November, Fuyao workers voted 886 to 441 against creating a new UAW local unit, decisively defeating the union’s more than 18-month attempt to organize one of the Dayton area’s fastest growing manufacturers

One complaint to the NLRB was signed by Ava Barbour, associate general counsel for the UAW. A call to Barbour’s office was transferred to the UAW’s public relations department.

A UAW spokesman confirmed Friday that the union is still pursuing NLRB complaints against Fuyao on how Fuyao has treated UAW supporters.

“No,” the UAW spokesman said in an email when asked if Fuyao was cooperating with the NLRB investigation.

Messages were also sent to Tansino and to an in-house counsel for Fuyao in Moraine.

It sounds like the NLRB has filed a request for an order enforcing a board subpoena, said NLRB Regional Director Garey Lindsay in Cincinnati. He said he needed to speak with Tansino to gather more information.

“If they (Fuyao) fail to provide us with information by the due date … then our only recourse under the statute is (seeking) an application to district court to enforce the subpoena,” Lindsay said Friday. “It sounds like that’s where we are in this particular case.”

“They are to some extent cooperating with the investigation,” he added. But the company may not be giving the NLRB all the information it requested, he also said.

“It would be an oversimplification to say that they’re not cooperating,” Lindsay said.

In court filings, the NLRB said it has requested all disciplinary actions by Fuyao on employee work attendance, including discharges, from Feb. 2, 2017 to April 30, 2017, for employees in the company’s lamination and ARG departments.

In June, the NLRB in Washington D.C., denied Fuyao’s request to revoke an earlier subpoena. “The employer has failed to establish any other legal basis for revoking the subpoena,” the board wrote in a June 22 order.

In a follow-up document dated July 31, Tansino told the court, “Respondent’s (Fuyao’s) unwillingness to provide records as required by the subpoena duces tecum and the (NLRB) board’s order requiring compliance with the subpoena duces tecum constitutes contumacious conduct.”

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