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Judge orders Fuyao to produce employee records

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

Fuyao employees reject UAW bid

Although the United Auto Workers lost its campaign to form a new bargaining unit at Fuyao Glass America’s Moraine plant last year, it appears to have been on the winning side of a court battle with the company recently.

A court last week gave Fuyao 21 days to respond to a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) application for employee records.

The order was filed March 5, meaning the documents are due March 26.

RELATED: NLRB goes to court for Fuyao records

Spurred by a UAW complaint, in November 2016, the NLRB asked a federal court in Dayton to order Fuyao to provide documents in an investigation of the company.

An attorney for Fuyao at the time called the subpoena for information too broad, calling it a “fishing expedition.”

In May 2016, the United Auto Workers (UAW) filed a charge against Fuyao with the NLRB, alleging that the company discharged an employee, Adam Moffitt, “because of his support” for the UAW, a union that in 2017 fought and lost a representation campaign to form a new local unit at Fuyao’s Moraine complex.

RELATEDFuyao workers reject the UAW by a wide margin 

In a November 2017 election, Fuyao’s local workforce rejected the UAW’s bid handily by a 2-1 margin.

But well before that election, in late 2016, the NLRB filed a request in federal court, asking that Fuyao be made to provide employee records. The NLRB was investigating whether the company disciplined or punished other UAW supporters or treated employees who didn’t support the union differently.

Now, the case appears to be approaching some resolution.

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During legal hearings in the case, a former human resources executive at the company, Eric Vanetti, argued that about 800 people worked in the plant’s ARG (After-market Replacement Glass) department at one point, which made producing detailed records difficult.

According to a court filing, Vanetti at one point said he “inherited a mess” when he joined Fuyao. 

However, the court found that producing records for employees supervised by one particular supervisor would not be “unduly burdensome.”

“Fuyao is pleased that the court concluded that the National Labor Relations Board’s original subpoena was overbroad,” said Columbus attorney Michael Short, who represents Fuyao in the case. “Fuyao continues to work with the NLRB to assist it in concluding its investigation.”

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice ordered Fuyao to produce to the NLRB contact information, attendance records, all discipline and discharge records for all employees who worked in the Moraine plant’s ARG department under the supervision of Dondi Osgood since Sept. 1, 2015.

An attorney for the NLRB referred questions to the NLRB. 

Fuyao Glass America has about 2,000 employees at its Moraine plant, which it calls the largest auto glass production facility in the world.

Fuyao Glass America has about 2,000 employees at its Moraine plant, which it calls the largest auto glass production facility in the world. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

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Blue Angels cancel Friday morning autograph session 

Published: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 1:42 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 8:20 PM

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform during the Vectren Dayton Air Show held at the Dayton International Airport, Sunday, June 29, 2014. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform during the Vectren Dayton Air Show held at the Dayton International Airport, Sunday, June 29, 2014. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

UPDATE @ 8:20 p.m. (June 21):

An autograph session is canceled with members of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels team Friday morning at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The cancellation was necessary so the team can practice after recent heavy rains grounded their jets, according to a museum spokeswoman.

EARLIER REPORT

For the first time since 2014, the Navy’s Blue Angels are set to perform at the Vectren Dayton Air Show on June 23-24 at Dayton International Airport.

Here are five things to know about the team:

PLANES: The team flies six blue and yellow F/A-18 Hornet jets as close as 18 inches apart in aerial formations. The team has flown the Hornet jets for three decades, the longest of any aircraft in its 72-year history.

HOME BASE: The Blue Angels team is based in Pensacola, Florida, but flies winter training missions at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California between January through March every year to prepare for the show season.

TEAM LINE-UP: The team has more than 130 active-duty sailors and Marines, including six naval aviators and a narrator who is also a pilot.

SHOWS: The Blue Angels will fly at more than 30 air shows in the 2018 season.

AUTOGRAPHS: The team is set to sign autographs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 22 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

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New study lowers chemical water safety standards to Dayton’s current levels

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

Water well field at Huffman Dam is operated by the city of Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Water well field at Huffman Dam is operated by the city of Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

A new study on potentially dangerous substances found in water is coinciding with the city of Dayton’s own recent findings in a startling coincidence.

Paul Buszka, a supervisory hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Indianapolis, pointed to the release Wednesday of a draft study about the risks posed by PFAS substances (polyfluoralkyl) from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 

The study lowers the level at which no harm would be expected into the single digit parts-per-trillion (ppt) range.

RELATEDExpert: Dayton’s water should be monitored 

According to the study, the proposed “minimum risk levels” of PFAS equate to about 7-ppt and 11-ppt for two compounds.

Those levels are close to levels of similar compounds found in local water this year.

Dayton and Montgomery County have been sending customers notices with the results of recent testing of treated water leaving the city’s Ottawa Water Treatment Plant. The results of March testing show PFAS detected at a level of 7 to 13 parts per trillion.

Experts are reacting to the new study carefully.

MORE: Wright-Patt among many military bases where chemicals detected

“If you’re getting close to those levels — and again this (draft study) was just released — just the idea that those compounds are present is a reason for people to sample and to understand the extent of the issue better,” Buszka said in an interview. “That’s probably as far as I would go with it.”

He referred further questions to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 

“Ohio believes strongly WPAFB needs to be more proactive to address PFAS at its source before this contamination can impact additional drinking water wells (either Dayton’s or WPAFB’s). Ohio EPA continues to focus on ensuring Dayton’s and WPAFB’s drinking water wells remain below the current U.S. EPA health advisory level in both water systems,” according to a statement to this news organization.

 

“Looks like the lower exposure levels may be of concern, although I have not had time to read carefully, only skim,” said Rita Loch-Caruso, a professor of toxicology and water expert at the University of Michigan.

RELATEDDayton water chemicals prompt warning to local residents 

“So what advice to give? It is hard to say without a more careful review,” Loch-Caruso added.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, applauded the release of the draft findings Thursday.

“This is a matter of public health and safety,” Turner said in a statement. “Based on this information, I encourage federal, state, and local environmental regulators to examine whether they are appropriately communicating the risks presented by and adequately addressing the presence of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water. We must ensure agencies at all levels are using the most reliable data and best available science to ensure our drinking water remains safe.”

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Springboro finishing central intersection, diverting tax on next phase

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 11:29 AM


            The final touches are about to be put on intersection improvements at Springboro’s central crossroads. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD
The final touches are about to be put on intersection improvements at Springboro’s central crossroads. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

The final touches are about to be put on intersection improvements at Springboro’s central crossroads, and the city council is scheduled to consider voting to set up a special taxing district diverting revenues from the redevelopment of the northwest corner.

RELATED: Intersection makeover clears way for crossroads redevelopment

More than $20 million is being spent on the two projects expected to totally make over the area around the intersection of Ohio 73 and Ohio 741, Central Avenue and Main Street in Springboro.

“Weather permitting, work will begin on the crosswalks on Monday, June 18, and should last 4-5 days, as long as Mother Nature cooperates. Traffic will be maintained and the intersection will remain open; however, with worker safety being of utmost importance, some lanes may be shut down as work is being done,” the city said in a message emailed this morning.

The delivery is actually expected next Monday, June 25, and the work done by the end of next week.

RELATED: City to tear down Speedway for crossroads project

Tonight, Springboro City Council is scheduled to consider approving legislation establishing a 10-year, 100 percent tax incremental financing (TIF) district for the northwest corner. That is where Mills-Barnett Development has agreed to spend $10 million on a commercial development anchored by a $3.5 million Springboro Center for the Performing Arts and $3.7 million in roads and other infrastructure.

RELATED: View city redevelopment preliminary plan, survey

“However, this TIF will make the Springboro Community City Schools and Warren County Career Center (WCCC) ‘whole’ from a property tax perspective. Meaning, the schools will receive every property tax dollar earmarked for the schools and WCCC from future development that they would have received before the TIF was created,” City Managger Chris Pozzuto said in a memo to council.

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A map attached to the legislation indicates the area included in the TIF redevelopment area includes a small piece of land on the southwest corner where a Speedway station-convenience store previously was located and a larger L-shaped parcel on the northeast corner where a service station, carpet store and pizza parlor were located before the land was purchased by the city during the intersection improvement project.

RELATED: City buying shopping plaza for $3.4 million

The city has already spent $10 million on the intersection redesign and acquisition of the former Springboro IGA Plaza on the northwest corner. Pozzuto said it plans to use a rebate from money committed to the intersection to fund infrastructure for the redevelopment of the corner.

The council meets tonight in work session at 6 p.m. and in formal session at the Springboro Administrative Center, 320 W. Central Ave.

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New Dayton-area manufacturer pledges 100 jobs

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:46 PM


            The exterior of Hematite’s Lau Parkway facility on a rainy day. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
The exterior of Hematite’s Lau Parkway facility on a rainy day. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

For one of the Miami Valley’s newest manufacturers, the building is over and the work begins.

Actually, much of the building still remains for new Englewood auto supplier Hematite, which had an open house at its new Lau Parkway facility Thursday. And in a sense, the work really began with a groundbreaking last June.

Hematite has invested $14 million into its 106,000-square-foot production site and expects to invest another $5 million by 2020.

MORE: New study lowers chemical water safety standards to Dayton’s current levels

The Canadian-owned company uses recycled materials to treat vehicle under-bodies and craft acoustic components that affect how much noise penetrates a vehicle. The business also makes air- and water-management parts.

Eighteen Englewood employees today work to supply Toyota with parts. By 2021, the Hematite facility should have about 100 employees serving North American customers.

“Supplying the auto industry is not an easy task,” said Jacques Nadeau, Hematite chief operating officer.

MORE: Water expert: Dayton needs to continue monitoring

The company considers itself an environmental champion, using materials that might otherwise have ended up in a landfill.

“The environmental aspects of our industry are not something we can forget,” said Jonathan Bridges, director of automotive for JobsOhio, the state’s private development corporation.

MORE: The Arcade: Five things to know about downtown Dayton’s newest project

A new local auto parts supplier is a big deal. Though the Dayton area is no longer home to a full vehicle assembly plant and a cohort of Delphi plants — in the late 1990s, the area at one point had some 15,000 Delphi workers — the Dayton Development Coalition and Montgomery County officials have pursued deals with foreign transplants and domestic companies that make parts, such as Fuyao Glass America, which has 2,300 employees in Moraine.

“The Dayton region likes to make things,” Julie Sullivan, vice president of development for the coalition, said at Hematite’s groundbreaking last June. “We always have. And we’re good at it. “

In 2017, Montgomery County commissioners approved $400,000 to Englewood to assist in the plant’s building.

“It has been years and years of working and building to get here,” John Pavanel, Hematite president, said Thursday.

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