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Workers at Missouri Yanfeng plant join UAW

The UAW said workers at a Yanfeng auto parts plant in Riverside, Mo., a key General Motors supplier, voted to join the union.

Of the roughly 430 workers who were eligible to vote in the election, 311 voted yes and 26 voted no, the UAW said in a statement Thursday.

Yanfeng, based in China, is a supplier of smart products, interiors, seating, electronics and other products with more than 240 operations worldwide. The company’s North American business is headquartered in suburban Detroit.

The Riverside facility produces components for General Motors’ Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City. It is the sixth Yanfeng operation to organize with the UAW and the Riverside workers join more than 1,000 other Yanfeng-employed UAW members at facilities in Michigan, Canada and Alabama.

The UAW said workers at the plant have faced low pay, a lack of seniority rights and understaffed shifts. Additionally, the UAW said workers of color have faced discrimination from management. 

“This struggle was about fair treatment for every worker and holding management accountable,” Yanfeng worker Sharon Gilliam said in a statement released by the UAW. “We want every worker to be educated and informed of their rights and empower them on the shop floor, and this is the first step.”

Yanfeng spokeswoman Debra Ortisi told Automotive News the company supports the workers’ decision and employees’ right to choose. “We will work closely with representatives from the UAW on next steps,” Ortisi said. 

Yanfeng, of Shanghai, China, ranks No. 16 on Automotive News’ list of the top 100 global parts suppliers, with estimated parts sales to automakers worldwide of $13.76 billion in its 2021 fiscal year.

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