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Posted on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 8 a.m.

Charges filed with National Labor Relations Board allege improper union activity at Saline auto parts plant

By Ben Freed


Workers in the American Legion hall sign petitions to the National Labor Relations Board officially charging ACH and the Unions with misconduct at the Faurecia Plant in Saline.

Courtney Sacco I

Tensions continue to mount at the Faurecia automotive plant in Saline as workers from the plant have submitted formal charges to the National Labor Relations Board against both the United Auto Workers union and former plant operator Automotive Components Holding (ACH).

Patricia Meyer, founder of Labor Advocates Workers Solution, filed the charge against the UAW on behalf of plant employees.

According to the charges, the union allegedly “restrained and coerced” employees at the plant by misrepresenting them during the transition period that occurred in the summer of 2012.

Shortly after Faurecia took over the plant, ACH workers were given the opportunity to take jobs with the French automotive parts company. However, doing so would remove their status as preferential hires at Ford plants in the area. While some signed on with Faurecia, many workers opted to remain ACH employees.

In November, union representatives told ACH workers that they would be transferring to a new company known as Devon Alpha Services II (DAS). The employees were told that transferring to the new entity did not have any bearing on their status with Ford Motor Company relating to potential jobs at Flat Rock and other plants.

Many former ACH employs signed on with DAS without a contract in place. Others, like Dan Kelly, were frightened by language in the employment packet and resisted joining the new entity.

“I talked to the people in the union office and I showed them this page that said I would be an ‘at will’ employee, and they said they had never seen it before,” Kelly said.


Flyers like this were noticed in the plant Friday and upset employees who allege that they have yet to see a contract between the UAW and Devon Alpha Services II, LLC.

Further complicating matters, an “up-or-down” vote was announced late last week on a new contract with Devon Alpha Services II that workers in the plant allege they were never given access to or a chance to read.

Employees noticed a flier posted by Saline plant chairman Jason Heath Friday. It announced three informational meetings about the contract on Monday, Feb. 18 in addition to the vote that would take place the same day.

Meyer and former plant employee Debi Muncy both said that employees had not been given a contract to review beforehand and were wary and skeptical of signing a new agreement without time to look at it first.

Multiple calls and messages to the union office in the Saline plant and Jason Heath were unanswered.

Even without the contract, Meyer said that one of the employee’s major problems with the new employment standards at DAS is that the employees are now on an unfair ‘point system,’ which puts them at greater risk of being fired.

“If they are injured on the job and have to leave for medical assistance, that’s a point,” she said.

“And there are so many ways to get points, and if they get a certain number, they’re done.”

While not signing on with DAS did not effect the employees status with Ford, it is still unclear what the employees status would be if they were fired from their jobs while working for the new company.

Thomas Dyze, the registered agent of Devon Alpha Services II, LLC, said the company is owned by Devon Facility Management, which is in turn owned by Devon Contract Holding, a part of the Devon Group based in Detroit.

Devon Facility Management human resources manager Belinda Cunningham said in an email that the company “[did] not have approval from Faurecia, The UAW, or ACH to discuss our business agreements with them,” and was therefore unable to answer questions regarding the impetus behind moving workers from ACH to Devon Alpha Services.

The specific charges against the UAW allege that they have engaged in unfair practices regarding section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act. The charges, filed against the Local 892 and the international office, are:

“The Union through its agents and representatives, has restrained and coerced employees of ACH by: 1. Since about October 1, 2012, misrepresenting to them the consequences of surrendering their ACH employment to take jobs with Devon Alpha Services; 2. On or about December 1, 2012, requiring ACH employees who accepted employment with DAS to execute membership applications and/or dues checkoff authorizations in order to collect their first paycheck with DAS.”

A spokeswoman from the UAW said that until they had an opportunity to review the charges they would not be able to comment on the case.

Meyer filed the charges after meeting with approximately 50 plant workers at an American Legion hall in Saline on Feb. 5 and consulting with NLRB Grand Rapids resident officer Thomas Good.

Saline Plant Fast Facts:

  • Size: 1.6 million square feet
  • Primary products: instrument panels, door panels, consoles
  • Converted from Ford to a Visteon Plant in 2000
  • Transfered from Visteon to holding company ACH in 2005
  • Nearly sold to Johnson Coltrols in late 2007
  • Sold to Faurecia in June, 2012
  • Employees in November, 2007: approximately 1,150
  • Employees in August, 2011: approximately 2,300
  • Employees today: approximately 1,400
Employees who came to the meeting at the hall alleged violations including hiring of non-union employees from a temporary agency at the Saline plant and Ford hiring off the street at their other plants instead of honoring preferential hires currently working at Saline.

There was also concern over seniority expressed by some employees caused by Ford hiring in ACH workers, many of whom who were previously Visteon workers, as entry level employees. This comes despite insurance paperwork that lists “Ford Motor Company” as the worker’s employer during their time at the Saline Plant.

Good said the process to resolve the charges starts very quickly but can take a long time to resolve

“When a charge comes in we immediately notify the charged party by mail that there is a charge filed against them,” he said.

“We then do a preliminary review of the charging party’s witnesses and documents to see if we have a prima facia case. This usually happens within the first week or ten days after receiving the charge, we then ask the charged parties to respond.”

Once the NLRB agent has reviewed information from both parties, they make a report to the regional director of the NLRB. If the director determines that there is reasonable cause to believe the charged party has violated the National Labor Relations Act, the case moves to settlement or a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.

The ruling of the judge can be appealed to the full National Labor Relations Board, a five-member appointed panel that sits in Washington, DC. Only after the board rules on a case can it be taken to circuit court.

Good said the full investigation by the NLRB agent the director rules on reasonable cause usually takes five to nine weeks, after which over 90 percent of cases are either dismissed or settled by the parties. If the case goes to an administrative law judge, it can take two to three months for the case to be heard and an additional three months to issue a decision.

“Most of the charges filed from year to year do not make the standard of reasonable cause,” he said. “It’s still far too early to say how long it would take to resolve this dispute.”

Meyer, who has been working in labor relations for over 20 years both as a union bargaining representative and with her advocacy organization, said the conditions in the Saline plant were among the most acrimonious she’s ever seen.

“I’ve really never seen anything like what’s going on here,” she said.

“The workers don’t know what’s happening to them and they can’t trust the union to help them at all.”

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

Gee - at will employment - what a horror. NOT. Those employees are now like the rest of us - grow up and face reality.

UAW apologist

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

I'm tired of the UAW being bashed so Imma straighten a couple of things out. In 2006/2007 ACH Saline plant was basically sold to JCI so they started hiring a bunch of TEMPORARY WORKERS (ACH workers.) All of the Ford workers were getting the hell out of dodge and the gaps needed to be filled. In 2008/2009 the bottom fell out and the JCI sale fell out with it. With that, Ford did away with the Gen pool and started moving Ford workers to Saline and laying off the TEMPORARY WORKERS (ACH workers). However the UAW negoitiated call back rights for the ACH workers. So when the economy got better the ACH workers got called back. No one expected the ACH workers to be around so long and Ford took advanage of that. ACH workers had littlel or no vacation time, crappy insurance with no coverage for Dr.'s visits, and no hope for the future. The UAW recognized this and in October 2011 they negotiated many gains for ACH workers including, $6000 signing bonus, good inusurance, and the opportuinty to work for Ford Motor company. Then a few months later the plant sold and the UAW negotiated greate choices for the ACH workers. They could either stay at Faurecia, get a $2500 signing bonus, $5000 in tution assistanace, good insurance, and the pick of the best jobs in the plant or the could go to Ford when jobs opened. Now no one was sure when jobs would open so the UAW negotiated for ACH workers to keep their jobs as long as possible. This is where DAS II comes in. They are the company that the ACH workers will work for until they either go to Ford or get laid off. .

UAW apologist

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:07 a.m.

continued, So I dont understand what all the fuss is about. All the former ACH/DAS II workers have to do is follow the same work rules that all of the Faurecia workers have to to follow. All former ACH DAS II workers have a job a Ford Motor Company waiting for them. In fact, all former ACH DAS II workers have a Ford Seniority Date of May or June of 2012. What more do they want? What is it that they want that they are not getting? The issue about the contract is nonsense becasue when they signed up for Ford they all knew that they would have to work under Faurecia's Rules. This was common knowledge to everyone. So all the contract does is confirm the fact that they will work by the rules. We have real issues in the Saline Plant but this isnt one of them. The starting wage is not a living wage. Faurecia consistently shorts pepoles checks. They owe workers thousands of dollars in back pay. They dropped over 200 people from health insurance of a paper work technicality. These are real issues. These are human rights issues.. Please explain to me what the former ACH/DASII workers are not getting that they think they deserve because I don't understand it.

Jack Gladney

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Typical union thuggery. No wonder the pig squeals so loud as right-to-work weans it from its tough of slop.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

I never knew using the Law made one a Thug. Please explain how that works. If I use a Real Estate Attorney in a Real Estate transaction, am I a Thug too? How about if I want a company to abide by a contract they signed, am I a Thug? If a cop gives me a ticket for speeding, is he a Thug?

Mr No Name

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

There has been an out flux of long time Ford workers and ACH workers going to Ford plants which has been greater than the amount of new hires coming in. Also this facility has been moving out production lines and has held true to its proposed floor plans thus far. This is the reason for reduced staffing. As for the real issue these workers have with the new contract they had to ratify. They are now required to conform to the terms and conditions of everyone else. No more double standard. I heard Ford did some off the street hiring while ACH workers at plants like saline were waiting for preferential hiring. In all likelyhood these effected worker will be at the plants they transfered to by the time this goes to an administrative law judge.

harry b

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

Perfect example why Michigan had one of the highest unemployement is the nation. What company would want to do business in a union state. Its way too difficult to deal with unions.

harry b

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

Many companies do deal with the unions in Michigan unemployement. Generally is a logistics thing. But when presented with a choice companies look for low taxes and non union states. Wouldn't you?


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Literally hundreds of thousands of companies do business in MI. Maybe you would prefer to be treated the way Massie Energy treats people, as expendable?


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

Proof read alert: Employees who came to the meeting at the at the hall... (one at please) "It's still far to early to say how long... (too)

Ben Freed

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Thanks for the catches, they've been fixed.

music to my ear

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

this is why it is best to have alternatives (education) just relying on these people to come through for the workers I am sure this company check all the legalities before going forward they all should have gotten out while they had the chance, the smart ones did I am telling you ,you have to know your business or else people take advantage of you.

harry b

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.


Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

@Ben Freed: "It is actually very difficult to determine the actual workforce in the plant due to the combination of former ACH (now DAS) workers, Ford workers, and the workers hired in from an agency called "Belcan Staffing." " Sounds like a concerted effort to bust the union and kill the contract.

Ben Freed

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

Nicholas, You can read more about the issues with Belcan in this story:


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Unions: Keeping America strong, one lie at a time?


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

I am thankful everyday that I have nothing to do with the UAW. To be honest, I'm terrified of the idea.

Tom Todd

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

Typical anti-union rhetoric from


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

GORC, do you have any statistics to support this claim that "a larger percentage of their readership is liberal."? Upon what do you base this claim?


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Tom Todd....a majority of articles are written from a progressive point a view. This happens because a larger percentage of their readership is liberal. This a sound business model, it's how they pay the bills.

Ben Freed

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Tom, This is not meant to be anti-union rhetoric. I reached out to the union at the plant, local, and international level but they would not talk to me for the story. Unfortunately I can't tell their opinions on the matters if they won't talk to me. For what it's worth, the people I talked to who are charging the union are all very pro-union, they are just disappointed that they feel the union in this case has not done what they are meant to be doing.


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Improper union activity? This can't be! Someone call Dingel, or Obama or..................

Jim Osborn

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

If I read the employment figures correctly, about 40% of the workforce, or 900 people have been fired since 2011. If I worked there, I'd be concerned, too.


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

@Ben. I think the "guess" is very inaccurate. Even though they didn't provide you the number of temp employees (contract workers), you show them adding 1,150 positions from 2007 to 2011. Pretty sure if they were adding 289 plus employees a year, there would have been significant press. If they had fired 900 in one year, i'm pretty sure that would have created significant press. the majority of that increase (my best guess) came from contract employees.

Ben Freed

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

It is actually very difficult to determine the actual workforce in the plant due to the combination of former ACH (now DAS) workers, Ford workers, and the workers hired in from an agency called "Belcan Staffing." The plan did not work with us to determine employment numbers so this was our best guess.


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

Where does it say they were fired? Was this a reduction in workforce due to less business?


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

For the rank and file who feel that the UAW is not performing or representing in the union members' best interest, soon they will have a legal avenue to let their union leadership know how they feel. The newly passed Right to Work legislation will give the members the right to stop paying their dues. This law will empower the rank and file when their representation fails them.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3 p.m.

and after they don't pay their dues, who is going to represent them?


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

Nicholas - you've missed my point. The rank and file now have a tool to hold their leadership responsible. According to the article, there are some union members dissatisfied with their leadership...otherwise they would not have sued them.


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

All right to work employees will be at will workers


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

@Nicholas. But it looks like here that even though they pay their dues...they still don't get a contract (they will be "at-will" employees). gotta say, I wouldn't be happy paying dues if I were in their circumstances.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

The only thing that prevents workers from being grist for the mill is having a contract. Grunt labor only gets a contract via collective bargaining. Wanting the benefits of a contract, but not wanting to pay, is just freeloading.

Jim Osborn

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

4th paragraph, "dong" Do you mean "doing"? Editors?

ypsi to go

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

You should have prima facie --- which is sometimes pronounced pree-muh fay-shee-uh -- in the quotation from Thomas Good, NLRB Grand Rapids resident officer, about 3/4 down from the top.

Ben Freed

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Thanks DJacks, got it.


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Here's another, "Employees who came to the meeting at the at the hall "

Ben Freed

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Thanks for noticing the typos guys. They've been corrected.

Jim Osborn

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

"On or about December 1, 1012," 2012?