Flex-N-Gate workers in Texas vote to join UAW

Flex-N-Gate workers in Texas vote to join UAW
Vince Bond Jr.
Automotive News | May 2, 2013 – 4:10 pm EST
— UPDATED: 5/2/13 6:05 pm ET – adds Flex-N-Gate statement
DETROIT — Hourly workers at a Flex-N-Gate plant in Arlington, Texas, voted to join the UAW on Wednesday.

Of the 73 employees eligible to vote, 51 voted in favor of union representation and 22 opposed, the National Labor Relations Board said today. The NLRB conducted the election.

Flex-N-Gate, which is owned by Shahid Khan, a Pakistan-born billionaire who now owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, of Florida, has until May 8 to file any objections to the vote.

“This is a good day for the workers at this plant,” UAW President Bob King said in a statement today. “This strong vote clearly shows that workers at this facility believe joining the UAW is the right choice.”

If the company doesn’t file, the board will issue a certification confirming the union as the bargaining representative of the employees, said Ofelia Gonzalez, assistant to the director of the NLRB’s office in Fort Worth, Texas.

In a statement, Flex-N-Gate signaled it plans to honor the outcome of the vote.

“Our employees have always had the freedom of choice to organize, and we will always respect the decision they make,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to continued success with all of our employees in Arlington.”

The UAW’s organizing drive at the plant has been contentious. In the past, workers have been illegally terminated or disciplined for trying to unionize there, according to an NLRB order and decision issued last June.

The plant sequences products for General Motors’ nearby Arlington Assembly plant.

“We look forward to this paving the way to show Flex-N-Gate that there is indeed added value for everyone when workers join the UAW,” UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement.

While the vote can be viewed as a victory for the union, members at Flex-N-Gate plants in Warren, Mich., and Belvidere, Ill., have been trying to negotiate a new contract since February. The UAW contends the company won’t bargain in good faith.

Flex-N-Gate, incorporated in 1956 and headquartered in Urbana, Ill., 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.

The supplier, whose customers include the Detroit 3, employs more than 12,000 people at 59 sites worldwide. About 90 percent of its automotive business takes place in North America, Automotive News research shows.

UAW PRESS RELEASE: Flex-N-Gate workers at Texas plant join UAW

Arlington, Texas – Nearly 80 workers at Flex-N-Gate LLC in Arlington, Texas have voted to join the UAW in an election conducted Wednesday by the National Labor Relations Board.

The workers, who voted Wednesday evening at the plant, sequence products for the nearby General Motors Co. Arlington Assembly Plant.

“We are very happy to represent our newest UAW members,” said UAW Region 5 Director Gary Jones. “We welcome them to the region and look forward to a fair and equitable agreement for them.”

“We hope that through this election we can establish a relationship with Flex-N-Gate that best benefits the workers,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who represents the union’s Competitive Shop/Independents, Parts and Suppliers Department. “We look forward to this paving the way to show Flex-N-Gate that there is indeed added value for everyone when workers join the UAW,” Estrada said.

“This is a good day for the workers at this plant,” said UAW President Bob King. “This strong vote clearly shows that workers at this facility believe joining the UAW is the right choice.”

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