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Uaw Logo On Side Of Building© Jonathan Weiss Dreamstime

UAW Wins Election to Unionize Yanfeng Auto Supplies Plant

May 9, 2023
According to members of the UAW, workers there allegedly faced racial discrimination.

In a win for the UAW, employees at an automotive parts plant in Kansas City, Missouri, voted in a strong majority on May 4 to join the union. Workers at Yanfeng USA’s Riverside Facility will join the UAW Local 710 thanks to an election that saw 311 votes in favor of joining the union versus 26 opposed: In all, the UAW says the election will see more than 400 workers join the union.

The Riverside plant is the sixth owned by Yanfeng USA to join the union, including three Yanfeng locations in Michigan and one each in Alabama and Ontario.

Statements from organizing members of the union suggest that protecting workers from discrimination, in addition to usual concerns about compensation and workers’ rights, was also on the mind for union voters.

“This struggle was about fair treatment for every worker and holding management accountable,” said Sharon Gilliam, a worker at Yanfeng.

Jeff Schweedler, President of the Local 710, alleged that management had mistreated workers for how they looked and sounded. The “newest members of Local 710,” he said, have “suffered for years, being beat down by management for one reason or another: Because of the different dialects they speak, to what they look like. It’s time for them to have a voice at the table.”

In a May 5 statement, UAW President Shawn Fain congratulated the Riverside Yanfeng USA employees, said they had faced “low wages, racial discrimination, and no seniority rights,” and welcomed them to the union.

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