COMMENTARY: What can the UAW really do for Fuyao workers?

In a recent edition, the headline read, “UAW makes case to Fuyao workers.” Last March, the headline was “UAW hopes to organize at Fuyao.”

Over the past year, the UAW has been actively encouraging current workers to put forward safety complaints and accusations at a rapid pace. The UAW has admitted to having written these “employee” complaints asking OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Departmen of Labor, to “investigate” the plant. Since the United Auto Workers union (UAW) has sent their “organizers” to Dayton, I’m fearful that history may soon repeat itself and we will lose the thousands of jobs we’ve waited so long to return to this region.

I think we should all take a trip down memory lane. Do we remember how 2008 felt when we heard the old General Motors Moraine assembly plant was closing? Surely, we recognize that it is not something we want to repeat. Seven years later, Fuyao has brought jobs back to that location — and now, with the paint barely dry, the UAW is already working to tear it down.

All current Fuyao workers should take a moment and Google "GM Moraine Union" to see the history of the UAW at that location. Many may not know that the UAW never represented the workers at the former GM Moraine plant. Rather, those workers were members of the IUE-CWA — Industrial Division of the Communication Workers of America.

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This is important because after announcing plans to close the old plant, GM wanted to transfer the workers to other plants; but the UAW blocked the transfer of any of the 2,500 GM Moraine workers to any other GM facility simply because they were not members of the UAW. What happened to Union Proud? The UAW is now in town claiming that it cares so much for the workers in Dayton, yet it slammed the door in their face in 2008.

Let us all be thankful that Fuyao chose Dayton. The Chinese company has invested millions in a modern, safe, state-of-the art factory, hiring local to build it, hiring local to staff it. Every current Fuyao employee made a personal free choice to work there for a competitive salary plus full benefits. They all got a significant pay increase recently. Yes, there have been some minor incidents as training and procedures are being implemented; but nothing close to being serious and nothing deemed willful.

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Plant management is actively working with OSHA on installing new safety measures; the UAW would be of no additional help and is not needed. It is clear that Fuyao cares for its workers and cares for Dayton far more than the UAW ever did.

Does the UAW believe that Fuyao workers will choose to give up their rights as individuals to be represented by an organization that completely disregarded them in 2008? Does the UAW actually believe that Fuyao workers will be excited by their underfunded pension program on the brink of bankruptcy rather than controlling their own 401(K)? Dayton’s Fuyao workers will remember what the UAW did to Dayton in 2008. Let’s hope they will tell the UAW to take their banners and go home.

John Morris is president of the Mid-American OSHA Education Center in Springboro.