ZF workers in Marysville strike after UAW representation not recognized

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Workers for an auto parts supplier in Marysville went on strike on Thursday morning after the company reneged on a neutrality agreement to recognize union representation, according to the United Auto Workers.

ZF International jointly operates the Marysville Axle Plant north of St. Clair with Stellantis NV. In 2019 labor negotiations with the automaker, however, it was decided ZF would take over the operations of the plant and negotiate with the UAW. A majority of the ZF workers have signed up to join the union, but the German supplier is not accepting voluntary recognition, according to the UAW.

ZF International employees in Marysville are striking after the company refused to recognize union representation, the United Auto Workers says.

There are 340 workers striking, UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said. ZF spokesman Tony Sapienza said about a dozen are demonstrating at the plant, but that a majority of employees have shown up to work, and production continues. It was not immediately clear how many workers are at the plant.

"We have been in dialogue with them for a while, and we continue to talk with them," Sapienza said. "We are having discussions with them, and we hope to continue that."

In a statement, James Harris, director of UAW Region 1, said: "It is unconscionable that the company would choose to put workers through delay tactics and efforts to avoid the union when a majority of their employees have agreed to it. ZF must cease these union-busting tactics and honor the workforces' wishes by recognizing the employees right to bargain at this site which has been a union shop."

The work stoppage doesn't include Stellantis employees who have not transferred from the plant yet, the UAW notes. Their contract has a no-strike clause. Stellantis declined to comment.

"There is solidarity here — no doubt about it," Harris said. "Stellantis workers want the same bargaining rights they have had in the plant for ZF workers."

In July, ZF announced the Marysville plant had secured a nearly $6 billion contract for the delivery of beam axles and axle drives for pickup trucks until 2027, which was expected to create 800 jobs.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble