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Wages lawsuit against Fuyao gets bigger

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:00 AM
By: Thomas Gnau - Staff Writer

More plaintiffs are seeking to join what could become a class-action lawsuit against Fuyao Glass America, at a time when the company is facing a plant unionization effort by the United Auto Workers.

Attorneys filed in Dayton’s federal court Wednesday seeking to have Connie Childress join a lawsuit against Fuyao, a lawsuit first filed in June.

The suit seeks to recover what are alleged to be unpaid wages and overtime owed to Fuyao production workers in Moraine.

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The automotive glass maker is fighting the lawsuit and has said that any allegations by the plaintiffs that they were not properly paid are “without merit.”

The filing on behalf of Childress came just days after a similar filing on behalf of Jennifer Mayabb, who also seeks to join the lawsuit against a company that has proven to be one of the Dayton area’s fastest growing manufacturers.

The suit was first filed in June and now has at least five plaintiffs.

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Originally filed by Julia Staggs, a former employee of Fuyao, Staggs has argued that she and other “similarly situated” Fuyao employees are owed for alleged unpaid wages and overtime.

The plaintiffs want certification of the action as a class-action lawsuit. Attorney for Fuyao are arguing against that.

“Plaintiffs’ motion is a bid to have this court rubber stamp conditional certification without evidentiary support and despite the fact that plaintiffs brought individualized claims with widespread differences between them and among potential class members,” attorneys for Fuyao said in a filing with the court earlier this month.

They added: “Plaintiffs’ proposed class is a disorganized collection of over 1,500 individual claims, lacking any possibility of efficient case management. Plaintiffs’ own statements demonstrate the complexity of the proposed class (and sub-class) and varying allegations regarding unpaid time.”

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Bob DeRose, the Columbus attorney for Staggs, said he hopes to know before the end of the year whether the judge will certify the suit with class-action status. 

If that happens, then DeRose said he will write to other Fuyao employees to let them know they have a right to join the suit. 

A message seeking comment was sent to attorneys for Fuyao. 

Fuyao Glass America has about 2,000 employees in Moraine, at what the company says is the world’s largest automotive glass factory. About 1,500 of those workers are hourly production workers.