Brown opposes trade rep nominee whose firm lobbied for Fuyao

Sen. Sherrod Brown is opposing the Biden administration’s nomination of Nelson Cunningham for deputy U.S. trade representative, pointing to the work of Cunningham’s lobbying firm on behalf of Moraine auto glass manufacturer Fuyao Glass America.

A division of Cunningham’s firm, McLarty Associates, lobbied for foreign interests, including the Chinese-owned Fuyao Glass beginning in 2019, Brown said in a release Wednesday.

“The release of the documentary American Factory in 2019 revealed the company’s union-busting activities in Dayton,” the release says. “Fuyao settled with three Dayton workers in 2018 who alleged they were illegally terminated for supporting a union.”

In 2019, Fuyao agreed to pay nearly $120,000 total to three employees in a National Labor Relations Board settlement that resolved charges that Fuyao terminated the workers for supporting the creation of a union.



Federal documents obtained by the Dayton Daily News in 2019 through the Freedom of Information Act show Fuyao reached the agreement with the government and three workers who said they were fired or disciplined because they supported a United Auto Workers campaign in 2016-17 to create a union at Fuyao’s plant off West Stroop Road.

The settlement said the company was expected to pay a total of more than $108,000 in backpay to three workers, plus almost $4,200 in interest, in addition to more than $3,600 in expenses. Excess taxes were also expected to be paid.

“My values have always been clear: I will only support trade nominees who have rejected the failed policies of the past and have a demonstrated record of standing on the side of workers,” Brown, a Democrat, said in the release. “We should not have anyone leading our trade policy who advocated for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have been a terrible deal for Ohio workers.”

In the 2019 Netflix documentary “American Factory,” Jeff Liu, who was then Fuyao Glass America’s chief executive, was seen via a subtitled translation telling Fuyao founder and Chairman Cho Tak Wong that he has terminated union supporters from the plant. Terminating workers for supporting a union is a civil violation of federal law.

The documentary film crew captured the statement in a private meeting in which Fuyao managers are seen speaking Mandarin. The makers of the film did not translate the language until about a year after filming was complete.

Liu, in an email to the Dayton Daily News in 2019, called the subtitles “misleading” and incomplete, but the company later released a written statement praising and supporting the work of “American Factory” directors Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar, independent filmmakers based in Yellow Springs.

Liu left Fuyao in June 2019. His LinkedIn page says he is an external advisor for Bain & Co. today and is also a board member for the Detroit Chinese Business Association.

In a November 2017 election, Fuyao workers resoundingly rejected the UAW’s attempt to represent its Moraine plant.

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