Germany's Eisenmann Corp., a major paint shop system supplier to vehicle assembly plants, launched a probe last week into its supplier contracts following claims of labor abuses from an employee of one of its subcontractors at Tesla Motors' plant in Fremont, Calif.
The claims brought attention to construction labor practices in the auto industry amid a boom in U.S. auto plant projects and expansions at foreign automakers' plants in the South, where labor researchers say weaker union representation raises the likelihood of labor standards going unchecked.
Depending on the findings, Eisenmann's investigation could touch other automakers.
Since 2009, Eisenmann has installed paint shops or equipment at BMW's plant in Spartanburg, S.C., Mercedes-Benz's plant in Tusca-loosa, Ala., and Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, according to Eisenmann press releases. In April, the supplier announced a deal to build a complete paint shop for Volvo's plant under construction in Berkeley, S.C.
In a statement last week, Eisenmann said it was placing all supplier contracts under review, including those with subcontractors doing business in the U.S.