To the Editor:
Recently, you may have seen some allegations in the media by the UAW about unfair labor practices or unsafe working conditions at Lear. Those allegations are untrue.
Lear has a long-standing history of working collaboratively with unions everywhere we do business. The vast majority of our workers worldwide are represented by a union or a works council. In the United States, the vast majority of our workers are members of the UAW, and Lear has had a long, mutually beneficial relationship with the UAW. I have met numerous times with UAW Presidents Bob King and Dennis Williams and have the highest respect for them and their organization.
The UAW has alleged that our nonunion plant in Selma, Ala., is unsafe. That is not true, as has been documented by numerous air-quality tests by independent testing firms as well as testing by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The tests have shown that the air quality in Selma is safe and well within OSHA standards. The test results and other facts about our Selma plant have been posted on learselmafacts.com.
With respect to wages and benefits, Lear has always been competitive in the markets where we do business, and in most cases, we pay above-market wages. The workers at our seat assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., which has been criticized by the UAW as paying below-market wages, earn more than the UAW-represented workers at a nearby seat assembly plant operated by a competitor. In other markets, such as Indiana, Michigan and Texas, Lear has worked with the UAW to pay workers wages that are at the high end of the industry.
Based on our long history of working with the UAW and the facts presented in this letter, I am at a loss as to why the UAW chose to hold a protest outside our Southfield, Mich., headquarters this month during our annual stockholders meeting.
I believe the negative allegations are being made in the midst of a UAW organizing campaign in the South. We respect the rights of all our workers to decide whether they are represented by a union. We have repeatedly called for a union vote in Selma, and we are hopeful that our workers there will soon be allowed to decide whether to be unionized.
While everyone is free to express his or her beliefs, all I ask is that the UAW please refrain from knowingly saying things that are not true.
Let the facts speak for themselves. Let the workers decide their fate, and then let's all go back to working together making the best automotive seats in the world.
MATTHEW J. SIMONCINI
President and CEO