Fuyao to raise workers’ pay

Production workers get 15 percent raises

Fuyao Glass America’s manufacturing plant is giving all hourly associates a $2-an-hour raise, the company said Thursday.

The success at the company’s Moraine plant is becoming more apparent as just two weeks ago Fuyao’s president said he expects the manufacturer to break even this year. On Thursday, the company’s billionaire owner delivered the pay raise news to employees.

In many cases, the raise will work out to a pay increase of about 14 percent to 15 percent for workers on the floor of Fuyao’s plant, company officials said. The company could not give specifics on what hourly workers make, but have said in the past the average wage in the plant is $17 an hour.

The raises signify a maturing of the plant operation and will mean a boost for Moraine’s tax base. The plant has passed customer audits by General Motors, Honda and Volkswagen and other North American automakers, certifying glass from the Moraine plant.

“Those are major customers going through a major process of certifying the quality of a product,” said Dan Curran, University of Dayton president emeritus and an independent board member for Fuyao Glass America.

The raises are effective Monday. Shift differentials — paying employees who work different shifts different amounts, a common industry practice — will remain the same, Curran said.

Dave Hicks, Moraine city manager, said the news is “a continuation of the good things that have been happening” at Fuyao.

“We’re delighted to see it,” said Hicks, who said he met with Fuyao Global Chairman Cho Tak Wong this week.

“We are glad to see so many good progresses here in FGA (Fuyao Glass America),” Cho said in a statement the company released late Thursday. “Especially to know that FGA just passed a lot of key customers’ audits, for instance GM, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen.

“All these successes represent the first solid step of the company’s long-term growth. According to Fuyao Group’s tradition, we would like to treat our employees as our family members, and in this way, we want to increase all the hourly associates’ wage to cheer them up and share the success with FGA together,” Cho’s statement said.

Passage of customer audits will allow greater production at the plant off West Stroop Road. “It’s basically a pathway to profitability,” Curran said.

The news was shared with employees Thursday in a series of meetings across all shifts at the plant. Cho and Fuyao Glass America President Jeff Liu personally gave employees the news, Curran said.

Fuyao’s American operations are moving beyond their “start-up” phase, and employee pay must be competitive with other regional manufacturers, Curran said.

The Moraine plant has some 2,000 hourly workers. The raise will go to hourly, not office or supervisory employees, he emphasized.

The auto glass manufacturer is the largest single-site auto glass production plant in the world, with capacity enough to supply safety glass for one in four vehicles on North American roads, as well as aftermarket replacement needs. Fuyao Global bought and transformed the plant — a former General Motors SUV assembly plant — in 2014.

Fuyao’s North American serves automaker customers like Toyota, General Motors, Honda and others as well as the domestic replacement car glass market.

Launching a sprawling auto safety glass manufacturing complex from scratch has been challenging, plant leaders have acknowledged. But the barely three-year-old Moraine company is meeting customers’ standards and seeing growing customer orders, Liu told the Dayton Daily News recently.

“I don’t think any other company can do the same things that we’re doing,” Liu said.

Last November, Liu said shortly after his appointment that the company had lost about $90 million in two years. Earlier this year, in its annual report, Fuyao Global said the parent company was profitable even as Fuyao’s Moraine operation lost $41 million in 2016.

That is being turned around, leaders said. Orders for windshields in the first quarter increased and management expects that to continue in the second quarter.

“I have a great chance to break even this year,” Liu said. “I have no choice. I have to do it.”

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