A major autoworker union allegedly tried to prevent Chinese workers from voting in a recent workplace election because they were less likely to approve of unionization, sources familiar with the proceedings tell InsideSources.

Fuyao Glass Group Industries is a China-based company which produces windshields for automobiles. The company’s Moraine, Ohio, facility had a vote this week to determine whether its roughly 2,000 workers want to be members of the United Autoworkers Union (UAW). The union was unable to win the majority vote when ballots were counted Thursday night. But prior to the vote, the union allegedly tried to suppress the Chinese workers at the plant.

The UAW filed a petition for an election in recent months asking the federal government to allow for a vote. Labor unions can hold workplace elections if they show there is enough interest among the workers. The UAW included all full-time and regular part-time production and maintenance employees but asked to exclude workers with a nonimmigrant temporary work visa.

Sources tell InsideSources that the petition was nothing more than an underhanded attempt to suppress Chinese employees. Most of the workers with nonimmigrant work visas, which allow foreign workers to stay on a temporary basis, are Chinese—and they’re less likely to vote in favor of the union.

Fuyao Glass Group brings over Chinese workers who have technical skills that are critical to its U.S. operations. Those skills are highly specialized and thus the company needs to bring in workers who are already trained. The UAW, according to sources, originally tried to exclude all nonimmigrant visa holders, a move the federal government rejected.

The UAW allegedly then tried to work around the feds, saying it would only exclude temporary nonimmigrant employees. These workers were excluded from the vote. Those workers, however, aren’t hired as temporary employees. They have indefinite terms of employment with many working to gain citizenship or another status so they can stay permanently. But on paper, they appear to be only staying for a short-time, since the facility is only two years old. In that sense, all the workers at the facility would be temporary, but not all of them are visa holders.

The Ohio facility has roughly 80 workers who hold a nonimmigrant visa. The number pales in comparison to the total number of workers at the plant, but union elections are often won or lost by much smaller margins. Removing a segment of workers who are likely to vote “no” improved the union’s chances to win the vote—although, in the end, the union lost nonetheless.

The UAW did not respond to a request for comment from InsideSources.

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