German Supplier ZF Group Maintains Production Amid UAW Strike
German Supplier ZF Group Maintains Axle Production During UAW Strike
Despite a strike by UAW workers, German supplier giant ZF Group has been able to continue production of axles at its Tuscaloosa, Ala., factory. This has allowed nearby production of key Mercedes-Benz models to proceed without interruptions.
ZF spokesperson Tony Sapienza confirmed that the production at the plant remains stable, with no impact on Mercedes production. However, it is unclear how the plant is operating during the strike, and Sapienza declined to comment on whether the company is relying on salaried or temporary workers to maintain production.
The strike began on Wednesday when approximately 190 UAW members walked off the job at ZF’s chassis systems plant in Tuscaloosa after rejecting a contract offer. The strike raised concerns about potential disruptions in new-vehicle production at Mercedes’ assembly plant in Vance, Ala., which relies on front and rear axles from ZF.
Impact on Mercedes-Benz Production
The Vance assembly plant is responsible for manufacturing several Mercedes models, including the GLS SUV, GLE midsize crossover, GLE Coupe, EQE electric crossover, and EQS electric SUV. The GLE, in particular, has been one of Mercedes’ top-selling models in the U.S. during the first half of the year.
Mercedes has not yet provided an official comment on the situation at ZF, but the company has stated that it is monitoring the strike closely.
UAW Strike Over Wages and Healthcare Coverage
Similar to the UAW’s larger strike against the Detroit 3 automakers, the workers at ZF are striking to address concerns about wages and healthcare coverage. One of the union’s main priorities is to end the tiered-wage system, which has been a contentious issue between the UAW and auto companies for some time.
Sapienza expressed that ZF has submitted a fair and competitive offer to the union and is committed to negotiating in good faith.
Representatives for UAW Local 2083, which represents unionized ZF workers in Tuscaloosa, were not available for comment.
ZF Group, headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is a major global supplier to automakers, ranking No. 3 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 suppliers with worldwide sales of $42.1 billion in 2022.