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Judge gives workers suing Fuyao class-action status

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 8:57 AM

Workers in the Fuyao Glass America Moraine plant stack newly manufactured windshields in 2016. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Workers in the Fuyao Glass America Moraine plant stack newly manufactured windshields in 2016. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

A federal judge has granted class-action status to Fuyao Glass America workers and former workers in a lawsuit against the company.

The class-action status will include current and former Fuyao production workers in the last three years, and attorneys for those suing Fuyao now have permission to contact those people.

The workers involved in the lawsuit so far — about 13 — have alleged that the Moraine manufacturer of auto safety glass has not properly paid workers for overtime work or did not completely relieve them of duties for unpaid meal breaks and other times.

RELATEDWorkers seek to join class-action lawsuit against Fuyao

The company has denied the allegations and is fighting the lawsuit, which was first filed in Dayton’s federal court last June by a former Fuyao employee.

“The allegations in the complaint and the plaintiffs’ declarations agree that defendant’s (Fuyao’s) staff share similar primary job duties and responsibilities and are alleged to be victims of the same policy, decision and practice to deny them overtime pay,” wrote Judge Thomas Rose, in a decision dated Wednesday.

RELATEDFormer Fuyao worker seeks class-action status in lawsuit

“This suffices to consider plaintiffs and putative collective members and sub-class members similarly situated for purposes of conditional certification,” Rose added.

The judge ordered Fuyao to give plaintiffs’ attorneys a list of prospective class members — people who have worked for Fuyao in the last three years.

Fuyao has 14 days to provide the plaintiffs’ attorneys the workers’ and former workers’ names, job positions, last-known mailing addresses, last-known telephone numbers, email addresses and other information.

RELATEDFormer Fuyao exec sues over termination; Fuyao calls suit ‘meritless’

Attorneys for those suing Fuyao have also asked to give workers and former workers 60 days to “opt in” to the lawsuit, Rose wrote. (In an amended filing, Rose raised that number to 90 days.)

Attorneys may contact workers via U.S. postal mail and email.

Earlier this month, Scott Young, an attorney for Fuyao, said: “Fuyao Glass America (FGA) denies any allegations by the plaintiffs that they were not properly paid by FGA.”

Young and his colleagues then took the position “that class certification is not appropriate.”

A message seeking comment was sent Thursday morning to attorneys representing Fuyao.

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A dream home the way you want it: Vandalia firm grows with demand

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

Greg Barney, new owner of Vandalia’s Unibilt, said he sees promise in the modular home industry. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
Greg Barney, new owner of Vandalia’s Unibilt, said he sees promise in the modular home industry. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Greg Barney’s journey to owner of Unibilt Industries Inc. has included everything from accounting to framing homes.

After working as Vandalia’s Unibilt as vice president of business development for several years, took the helm Jan. 1, buying a company that has built more than 12,000 modular homes since the late 1960s.

Barney bought the company from Sharon and Doug Scholz, who decided to retire.

Scholz’ father Carl started Unibilt in 1969. Barney’s father, Jack, worked with Carl Scholz in the 1950s at Vandalia Sales; the elder Barney started Vandalia Rental in 1961, and that company is now a busy equipment rental business run by Barney’s nephew, Kurt Barney.

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Tim Scarpelli, a framer at Unibilt, measures as he sets a wall on what will be someone’s new home. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Unibilt builds modular homes inside an manufacturing complex on Johnson Station Road in Vandalia where weather doesn’t affect storage or construction.

By the time modular homes are placed on their foundations, the structures are 85 percent complete.

“These are built exactly like you build a home out on the job site,” Barney said. “They’re just built in pieces and (shipped) right out to the job site.”

The University of Dayton graduate worked for accounting firm Ernst and Young for eight years before getting into developing and residential “stick-framing.” (“Stick-framing” or “stick-building” are terms Barney uses for building a home on site once lumber and parts have been delivered. The entire house is raised on site.)

Then the Great Recession turned his head around.

“I got through the downturn and kind of re-evaluated everything,” Barney said. “The downturn kind of decimated the industry. A lot of people retired and moved on.”

Finding help

Young people were avoiding construction trades. Demand for new homes didn’t appear to be there. Even today, in a period of renewed demand, it’s difficult to find qualified trades people, Barney said.

A home under construction at Unibilt in Vandalia. All Unibilt’s modular homes, and all the materials for those homes, are built and stored indoors. The company has built more than 12,200 modular homes since 1969. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Still, the pull of home-building — modular home-building — was there for Barney.

“I view this as something that will become a little more prominent in the industry,” he said. “Right now, you see a lot of people looking at different ways, better ways, to build houses.”

Home-building really hasn’t changed in decades, he said. The lack of qualified trades people — carpenters, framers, plumbers, electricians and many others — are forcing a new look at how homes are built.

“It’s become extremely expensive and really only an affordable product (for the builders) for the higher-end homes,” he said.

Modular homes

Modular building is faster and efficient, Barney believes. All materials are nearby and weather delays aren’t a factor. Framers, plumbers, electricians, drywall finishers and others work at the same station of the build process where perform the same job every day.

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Unibilt has 86 employees and is hiring. Barney sees a need for a dozen more employees before 2019.

Materials enter into one end of Unibilt’s 120,000-square-foot production site and at the other end are largely finished homes.

He doesn’t expect modular construction to overtake stick-framing. But he does believe growth is likely.

“I think the thing we fight is a stigma,” Barney said. “Everyone looks at us as a manufacturer of double-wides. And it’s just not like that.”

Unibilt offers a range of custom options, he said.

He declined to discuss the terms of his purchase or to offer revenue or sales numbers. But he said the company is experiencing growth in volume of homes sold and associated revenue.

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Report: Winn-Dixie owner preparing for bankruptcy, up to 200 stores could close

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 3:23 PM

Bi-Lo, Owner of Winn-Dixie, Reportedly Preparing For Bankruptcy

Winn-Dixie owner Bi-Lo is preparing for bankruptcy, according to a Bloomberg report.

>> Read more trending news 

Up to 200 stores could close as part of a bankruptcy filing, Bloomberg reported. According to Winn-Dixie's website, the retailer has locations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The bankruptcy filing could come as early as next month, Bloomberg reported. 

Bi-Lo has not publicly confirmed any bankruptcy plans.

Traditional grocery stores have faced increased competition from online retailers like Amazon.

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Gibson guitar company facing imminent bankruptcy

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 2:51 PM

The maker of the Les Paul, Firebird, Flying V and dozens of famous electric and acoustic guitars is facing an uncertain future according to reports from the Nashville Post, and several music and financial publications.

Gibson guitar company, which has been a staple brand among various musical instruments since 1902, is facing bankruptcy.

According to the Nashville Post, Gibson’s chief financial officer, Bill Lawrence, left after six months on the job and just as $375 million in senior secured notes mature and another $145 million in bank loans become due if they aren’t refinanced by July. The departure of Lawrence was seen as abrupt and a statement about the desperate situation Gibson is in currently.

The company, which generates $1 billion a year in revenues, recently moved out of its Nashville warehouse, where it had operated since the mid 1980s. 

The company owner since then, Henry Juskiewicz, is trying to re-order the company according to the Post but is facing a battle with creditors over bad business decisions. The company recently sold Baldwin piano, and is hoping to see a boost in cash from the various electronics companies it had purchased the last several years.

Gibson began in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Mich., producing various instruments, including acoustic guitars and the Les Paul, designed by noted guitarist Les Paul, which became one of the most iconic instruments ever made. The Gibson Les Paul began production in 1952, and became a staple of the rock and roll movement since. The company since developed other iconic guitars such as the SG, Firebird, the Flying V and he ES-335 among others. 

Various reports, citing experts in the music and financial business, said Gibson would likely survive a bankruptcy due to its name value and tradition, as well as the a strong core business, according to Moody’s, who also cited the company’s balance sheets and organization issues as reasons to downgrade the company. 

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Roosters to move to former Caddy’s location 

Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 7:54 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:03 PM

Contributed
Contributed

Roosters is planning to open a restaurant in Miami Twp., with plans to replace another nearby location.

A limited liability company affiliated with the casual dining chain bought a restaurant property at 9400 Springboro Pike, which was formerly home to Caddy’s Tap House.

Officials with Roosters couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Tracey Herron, with Equity Inc., who represented Roosters in the real estate deal, said the location will replace its smaller leased store at 103 N. Springboro Pike near the Dayton Mall.

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The 8,500-square-foot restaurant is near the Interstate 75 and 675 interchange.

Roosters Real Estate LLC bought the property for $1.7 million in a sale recorded Dec. 1 by Montgomery County.

Caddy’s shut down its restaurant and bar at the location in May due to poor performance, the restaurant owner said at the time.

marketing flyer by Oberer Realty, which had been listing the property for sale, stated about 54,832 people live within three miles of the restaurant with an average household income of $79,657.

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