ZF Marysville recognizes labor union following strike

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

An auto parts supplier in Marysville reached an agreement Friday to recognize union representation for its employees after a week-long strike in September, the United Auto Workers announced. 

ZF Marysville and Stellantis jointly operate an axle plant north of St. Clair, and ZF took over operations, and negotiations with UAW, in 2019. 

The plant was staffed by Stellantis workers under a labor contract, the UAW said. Their company agreed during the 2019 negotiations to transfer them to other Stellantis locations, where their representation would be recognized, and have ZF staff the plant with its own. That transfer is still in process. 

When a majority of ZF employees, 340, chose to seek collective bargaining and representation, the union said, ZF reneged on a neutrality agreement and triggered a strike. 

“These hardworking ZF Marysville workers simply want what other employees at that plant have had,” said James Harris, Region 1 UAW Director. “ZF Marysville workers made it clear that they wanted the same voice at the table to bargain for their wages and benefits. They stood up to form their union and ultimately succeeded.”

The strike began Sept. 9 and lasted over a week, Harris said, after which the workers who were calling for collective bargaining returned to work. 

Tony Sapienza, ZF's head of communications for North America, said in September only about a dozen workers were demonstrating at the plant, but that a majority of employees had shown up to work, and production continued.

On Sunday, Sapienza insisted that ZF respected "the rights of (their) employees to have their voices heard." 

"As we committed to do, we are prepared to recognize the UAW as the collective bargaining representative of the employees in the agreed-upon unit."