UAW presses Flex-N-Gate on wages, worker treatment

By Brianna Valleskey
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: February 14, 2013 11:46 am ET
Updated: February 14, 2013 11:48 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Injection Molding

DETROIT -- UAW members and supporters rallied Wednesday at a Flex-N-Gate plant in Warren, Mich., and other company facilities to bring attention to what the union cites as mistreatment of workers and lagging wages and benefits.

The automotive supplier -- owned by billionaire Shahid Khan and based in Urbana, Ill. -- has become a high-profile target of the UAW.

UAW President Bob King has made organizing a top priority to rebuild the union's membership ranks. After several years of concessions and givebacks, prompted by the auto industry's downturn, the union is also pressing to enhance wage and benefits for existing workers.

The union held rallies at seven Flex-N-Gate plants in five states to secure a better contract for employees and organize workers at another plant. About 40 percent of the company's U.S. operations are unionized.

Ahead of Wednesday's rallies, the UAW said the demonstrations would "shine a light on the company's treatment of workers at its nonunion facilities" and "support … workers bargaining for new contracts."

Greg Stoey, vice president of the UAW local that represents employees at Chrysler's proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich., said it was important to show solidarity and rally around workers at the Warren plant.

The union's chief concerns are contracts, wages and safety for Flex-N-Gate workers, UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said.

Estrada said employees at non-unionized Flex-N-Gate plants earn about $10 per hour even if they have more than 10 years of service with the supplier.

UAW workers at Flex-N-Gate operations earn about $14 per hour, she said.

Working conditions at the company's non-unionized plants are worse than at unionized plants, Estrada added.

"These aren't just allegations," she said. "There's been (NLRB) charges against [Flex-N-Gate]."

Workers at a Flex-N-Gate plant in Texas have been illegally terminated or disciplined for trying to unionize there, according to a National Labor Relations Board order and decision issued last June.

"They want a voice in the workplace, and we want to help them with that as much as we can," said Tiffany Bush, a UAW member who works at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"Flex-N-Gate associates receive competitive wages, enjoy quality growth opportunities and benefit from our ongoing commitment to safe working conditions," the company said in statement to Automotive News on Tuesday. "The vast majority of Flex-N-Gate associates are happy with their employment."

Khan, with a net worth estimated at $2.5 billion by Forbes and who also owns the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars, was also targeted by the UAW and union allies during last year's NFL draft.

"We're getting too much taken from us," Keely Bell, a member of UAW Local 140 in Warren, a suburb that borders Detroit's northeast side. "It's time to stand together and say, 'We've had enough.'"

Flex-N-Gate ranks No. 56 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide parts sales to automakers of $3.4 billion in 2011.


Comments

UAW presses Flex-N-Gate on wages, worker treatment

By Brianna Valleskey
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: February 14, 2013 11:46 am ET
Updated: February 14, 2013 11:48 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

New medical firm buys Clairson Plastics

September 19, 2014 4:33 pm ET

Custom injection molder Clairson Plastics is being sold to a new start-up that plans to dive into the medical market with a new dialyzer, a key...    More

Image

Plasan investing in capacity, jobs to supply auto market with carbon fiber

September 19, 2014 3:05 pm ET

Growth in the emerging automotive market for carbon-fiber composites has spurred a $29 million investment in a Walker, Mich., factory    More

Image

Hong Kong's TK eyes expansion, may buy Nypro Tool operation

September 19, 2014 2:49 pm ET

Hong Kong-based mold maker and plastics processor TK Group (Holdings) Ltd. said it's reached a tentative agreement to buy a tooling factory in...    More

Image

Toyoda Gosei expanding in Mexico

September 19, 2014 2:33 pm ET

Toyoda Gosei North America Corp. is investing $67 million in a 398,000-square-foot plant in central Mexico to supply the automotive industry with...    More

Exo-s buys injection and blow molder in Mexico, expands footprint

September 19, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Custom molder Exo-s Inc. has bought an injection and blow molding operation in San Juan del Rio, Querétaro, Mexico.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events