Show of Solidarity Among Union Workers

By: Tina Stein Email
By: Tina Stein Email

BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- One of the nation's largest auto parts suppliers is accused of mistreating its employees with unfair working conditions and wages. Flex-N-Gate has a facility in Belvidere. Tonight, workers are rallying to show solidarity.

The facility in Belvidere is a union shop. We're told most of the complaints are coming from non-union facilities. So, members of the United Auto Workers are holding similar rallies right now at seven Flex-N-Gate plants in five states.

They're trying to raise awareness. They claim workers have to endure unsafe conditions, like lack of heat and air conditioning and exposure to a cancer-causing chemical.

In fact, the occupational safety and health administration fined the company last year for violations at the Urbana facility. Workers also argue their wages are unlivable and many are limited to short-time work. At the Belvidere plant, the UAW is also in the process of negotiating a new contract and want to make sure it's a fair one.

"To be able to make more than just gas money and get to work. We want to be able to live beyond that, to pay our bills, and not have to worry about whether we're going to be able to eat the next day,” said employee, Marilyn Reed.

The spokesperson for Flex-N-Gate did not return our call, but issued a statement saying “Flex-N-Gate associates receive competitive wages, enjoy quality growth opportunities and benefit from our ongoing commitment to safe working conditions. The vast majority of Flex-N-Gate associates are happy with their employment."

Flex-N-Gate is headquartered in Urbana, Illinois and it operates 52 plants throughout North America. About 12,000 people work there. They make parts like bumpers for various automakers, including Chrysler.

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