Fuyao will have close to 3,000 employees working in two plants when the company is fully operating, with most of them in Moraine, Cho Tak Wong, chairman of Fuyao Glass Industry Group, said Friday.
The Fuyao Glass America Inc. plant in Moraine has about 1,400 employees today, and it will need an additional 1,000 employees, Cho said. Between 200 and 300 workers will be based at the company’s raw glass supplier in Mount Zion, Ill.
The Moraine plant shapes, laminates and generally adds value to the raw glass supplied by the Illinois plant.
“We’ve hired about half of what we need,” Cho said, translated through Rebecca Ruan-O’Shaughnessy, director of legal affairs and administrative services at Fuyao.
“It will probably be more than 1,000 people that we still need. We will need more than 2,000 people because we have the equipment there, we have the positions to staff that equipment.”
Cho described his total $750 million U.S. investment as “one project, two plants.” The Moraine plant has accounted for about $450 million of that total.
Cho bought 1.4 million square feet of the former General Motors plant on West Stroop Road in May 2014 for $15 million. It eventually will be the largest auto glass production plant in the world, and it represents the largest Chinese investment in Ohio, with about 28 production lines expected to operate when the plant is fully operational.
The company is on track for making 4 million sets of auto glass for the original equipment manufacturing market by the end of 2016 — supplying customers such as GM, Ford and Honda. The plant also will serve after-market glass suppliers, which include companies such as Safelite.
“We believe our volume will be even larger than that,” Cho said, referring to the 4 million benchmark.
Cho is confident that the U.S. auto market will continue to support his U.S. investment.
“Fuyao now is the largest automotive glass manufacturer in the world,” he said. “All the automakers in the world use Fuyao glass. Especially with GM in the U.S., we are their largest global glass supplier. Chrysler, Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota — they are all my customers.”
His customers asked him to establish a U.S. facility, he said.
Cho said he visits the Moraine plant about once a month and is pleased with the progress the plant has made since retrofitting work there began in July 2014.
Asked if he is finding the workers he needs, he said, “We are working hard on that.”
United Auto Workers representatives have picketed the Moraine plant. Asked if he was concerned about attempts to unionize his workforce, he said the future of the plant rests in the hands of its workers.
“My perspective on this is still optimistic,” he said. “I have decided to make a large-scale investment here through various considerations.”