UAW Strikes ZF Group Plant in Alabama, Impacting Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Assembly

Strike Disrupts Production at ZF Group Plant in Alabama

A strike by the UAW at the ZF Group plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is causing disruptions in the production of front and rear axles for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The impact on vehicle assembly at Mercedes’ Vance plant, which manufactures popular models such as the GLE, GLS, EQE, and EQS, remains unclear.

A spokesperson for Mercedes has yet to respond to requests for comment regarding the situation.

This labor action involves approximately 190 workers at ZF’s chassis systems plant in Tuscaloosa who walked out at 5 a.m. local time. Employees cite various core issues, including wages, a tiered-wage structure, and concerns about healthcare coverage as primary reasons for their strike.

Efforts to obtain comments from UAW Local 2083 representatives have been unsuccessful at the time of this report.

ZF spokesperson Tony Sapienza confirmed via email that the UAW-represented workers at the Tuscaloosa plant chose to go on strike. However, he assured that the plant would continue to operate.

“We are committed to ongoing negotiations in good faith and remain hopeful that a resolution can be reached soon,” Sapienza stated.

This strike against ZF coincides with a larger UAW strike against the Detroit 3 automakers, which began last Friday. Workers initially walked out at three assembly plants, and the union has given General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis until noon Friday to demonstrate “serious progress” in negotiations before expanding the strike to additional plants.

Suppliers are closely monitoring the UAW strike due to the potential impact on their operations and finances. Many suppliers, particularly Tier 2 and Tier 3 parts manufacturers, are at risk of financial instability if the strike persists, as they have faced increased costs and inconsistent new-vehicle production in recent years.

ZF, headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is ranked No. 3 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers. The company reported worldwide sales to automakers amounting to $42.1 billion in 2022.

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