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Faurecia Workers Say Union Leader's Early Transfer is 'Chilling'

Some UAW workers at Saline's Faurecia plant say it's no coincidence that their union leader was transferred days after a picket.

The former president of in Saline said his early transfer from the plant was meant to stifle the voices of workers upset about certain practices at auto components plant.

Mark Caruso was scheduled to transfer to the Michigan Assembly Plant Ford plant Aug. 13. The transfer was pushed up three weeks, coming days after Caruso and the in front of Faurecia.

“Officially, they say it is due to operational needs,” Caruso said. “But I was told the company wasn’t happy with last week’s informational picket.”

Last week, in 102-degree weather, union members marched in front of the plant to bring attention to several workplace issues, including mandatory overtime, being forced to wear white shirts on the job, lack of ice in break rooms and inability to have beverages on the line.

of operations June 1 after from Ford Motor Company.

Several Faurecia workers contacted Saline Patch to complain that Caruso was being transferred early to stifle dissent. Caruso, who began training at his new job this week, said he can see why workers are concerned.

“I think this sends the message that if workers speak out, the company will retaliate,” Caruso said.

A Faurecia spokesperson declined to comment on the transfer, saying the matter was between the UAW and Ford.

New UAW Local 892 President Malana Hubbard said she understands why workers might feel that they’re being silenced but said Caruso’s departure is not reason for alarm.

“Mark was scheduled to leave in three weeks anyway,” Hubbard said.

One employee, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, however, said the timing of Caruso’s transfer was “chilling.”

“This sends a chilling effect to us regular workers. If they can do that to the (union president), what can they do to us?” the worker asked. “All we did was try and have a peaceful rally and inform people of the change in working conditions. Now there will be a culture of fear.”

Faurecia employees have also said employees involved in the picket were disciplined for participating in last week’s picket.

A Faurecia spokesperson addressed the allegation.

“While we recognize employees' right to picket, we also expect them to respect their work schedules,” said Stacie Tong, director of communications for Faurecia North America.

Caruso said last week that UAW members picketed on their own time.

Tong said there are challenges with the changes in ownership and corporate culture.

“While some of the policies and procedures may be different from those of the past, we are confident that our implementation of the Faurecia Excellence System and a number of facility upgrades will generate a more welcoming environment for all of Faurecia’s associates at the plant and contribute to continuous improvement in safety, quality and delivery,” Tong said.

Hubbard said she was unaware of any discipline as a result of Thursday’s picket.

Caruso, like many higher paid employees at what used to be a Ford plant, transferred out to preserve his Ford Motor Company wage. Top tier Ford workers make $28 an hour. New hires at Ford wiil be starting at an hourly wage of $19, by the end of the new contract. Faurecia assembly employees start at an hourly wage of $11 and max out at $15.50 after 36 months, according to the earlier this year.

The 2,000-strong workforce at the Saline plant is expected to be halved as the transition continues over the next four years.

Bertha January 30, 2013 at 04:57 AM
I would like to state that I too am an employee with Faurecia. This company definitely does not have any good intentions for their employees. I had money taken from me from June to November for insurance that I opt out of because I have insurance through my husband. But that did not stop them from deciding to go ahead and take money out of my checks for insurance anyways.. not to mention, I was not getting the $40 opt out pay... go figure right. I fought, with really no support or help from the union, hardly any assistance from the Labor folks and had to do all the leg work myself to try to get the just shy of $1000 owed to me from this company... I earned it, they had no right to take it. So... they finally added about $300 on my check and told me they are being nice and that they feel that I am not entitled to the money they took out of me for NO GOOD reason... 7 days a week I bust my butt for this company... for them to not give me money I earned. And my union reps, well I have been called psycho by one for being upset over the whole ordeal, and now they tell me.. the company paid you back some money so your all good now, you get NOTHING else back from what they took. WHAT A JOKE... a $1000 is ALOT of money. Now of course this company has no concerns what so ever for their employees, this has become very apparent over the last 7 months, by their new policies... which is just another way of doing their best to bust you doing something so they can fire you...
Bertha January 30, 2013 at 05:02 AM
All they want is cheap labor... their turn over rate for their employees is already high at the Saline plant. Did I mention, I hear we have people working here with serious criminal records... heard someone yelling on the floor one day, heard something about the person have just gotten out of a 10 year stint in prison... scary right! They have taken our security guards away... so who is going to be there when the ex inmate decides to go on a rampage? I hate having to watch my back from the time I pull into the parking lot until the time I leave it... never knowing who or what could, or will for that matter.. happen! I truly like aspects of my job... but not the company... I would not recommend working at the Faurecia plant...
Disdaine for real January 30, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Hi Bertha. If you have a copy of the paperwork that your turned in that shows you opted out, along with all of your pay stubs, then it sounds to me like you have a grievance. Dont bother trying to get the in-house reps to help you with that, go right to the source. Call Malana Hubbard, President of Local 892. Her number is (734) 429-7228. She was very helpful to me in getting answers within minutes, as opposed to our 'committee people and reps' who were no help at all (until she talked to them and then I finally received a call back after 11 messages were left). I really believe that the 'higher ups' in the local really have no clue of the piss poor job our reps are doing in representing us and protecting (fighting for) our rights as members. Time is of the essence as far as the grievance goes so if you havent taken that path as of yet, then get on that right away. If all else fails, take the legal route,. Check out this website for some helpful hints: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_deductions.html Good Luck
Disdaine for real January 30, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Scary indeed. I can definitely tell their are some 'questionable' characters in the building. The whole ambiance of the place has changed, people are angry and hostile most of the time. You really dont hear alot of laughing anymore and it is just not the kind of place that makes you feel warm and fuzzy coming to work. I wonder everyday on my way to work if this is the day that something terrible will happen or if I will finally crack and walk out the door in tears myself. I work basically in fear of either losing my job over some silly trumped up charge or someone jumping on my dome in the restroom or parking lot. It is pure torture and very emotionally draining. For now, I stay where Im at, not because I like it, but because my options are limited at this point in my life. I have kids to feed, clothe and need insurance. So for no other reason, I keep coming back. UGH!
Disdaine for real January 30, 2013 at 10:35 PM
P.S. When you talk to Malana, make sure you let her know which one of our reps called you a psycho. I cant possibly imagine that she would condone that kind of abuse from not only 'our representative' , but hers as well.

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