UAW rallies at Fuyao’s gates

Hundreds of United Auto Workers members from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan came to Moraine Wednesday to rally at the gates of Fuyao Glass America.

The UAW gave the number of workers on hand as 2,000. They lined Hoyle Place, Encrete Lane and other areas near plant gates and parking lots, holding signs and acknowledging passing motorists who honked their horns.

Fuyao security contractors watched quietly from plant property.

“I’m just amazed at the support we’ve been given here,” said DeAnn Wilson, a former Fuyao worker who said she was fired in June while recovering from a hip injury.

“We’re not just union members, but we’re taxpayers and community members as well,” Brian Martin, president of UAW Dayton Local 696, said in a UAW statement. “State and local taxpayers have invested over $20 million in subsidies to make this plant successful. In return, Fuyao has an obligation to provide our community with good, stable jobs.”

The rally in part marked the official scheduling Wednesday of a representation vote — set for Nov. 8 and 9 — giving more than 1,500 Fuyao workers a chance to say whether they wish to be represented by the UAW.

The vote will be 8 p.m. to midnight Nov. 8. Then the next day, voting will resume 6 a.m.-10 a.m., followed by another round of voting at 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., with all voting sessions at the plant.

The vote will be at the plant’s central break room, said Matthew Denholm, assistant regional director at the National Labor Relations Board’s Cincinnati office.

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Denholm said that while there have been disagreements between the company and the union, so far the two sides have been able to work together.

Workers at Fuyao filed a petition for the NLRB-sanctioned election Oct. 16.

Each side will have election observers, and Fuyao’s side is expected to have “non-supervisory” observers, Denholm said. An NLRB staffer will count ballots and announce the results to both sides, he said.

Gary Campbell, a UAW member who makes glass for PGW Glass Works in Crestline, Ohio, said most of those rallying, at least initially, were not Fuyao employees.

“We’re just here to support them. Some of them might come out … We don’t know if they’re allowed to be out here,” Campbell said.

Cynthia Harper, who has worked for Fuyao since 2015, said the UAW represents a chance for Fuyao workers to join a “family.”

“You have a family that’s there for you,” Harper said. “They have proven it by being here today.”

“We want these workers to understand, they’re not alone,” said Rich Rankin, director of the Ohio-Indiana region that includes the Fuyao plant.

A message seeking comment was sent to Fuyao representatives.

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