TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Nearly 200 people who work at a plant that supplies parts to Mercedes are on strike. The employees are part of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

Right across from the front doors of ZF, UAW members picket for better wages and benefits, saying they’ll stay on strike until these demands can be met.

“Who are we? UAW!” they chant. “What do we want? Better wages, better benefits!”

“All we want is our fair share,” says Kenneth McKay, UAW member and ZF employee.

New contracts are under negotiation for employees at ZF in Tuscaloosa but many are upset about what they’re being offered.

“All of my brothers and sisters who have a family plan, it’s going to equal out to be about a 4 cent raise,” says McKay. “We’re at the bottom, really. The median is about $23 an hour and that’s all we’re asking for.”

“Just appreciate your workers,” says Patsy McCain-Shelby, UAW member and ZF employee. “We all work hard for y’all and we do what y’all asked us to and we’d appreciate it if we get paid for it.”

ZF says this strike in Tuscaloosa is not connected to the national UAW strike against the big three automakers. ZF says negotiations have already begun with those on strike and it hopes to see a resolution reached soon.

“It’s a very dynamic time for us and for the entire supply chain. It’s been a difficult three years with COVID and the chip shortage,” said Tony Sapienza, head of communications for ZF for the Americas. “You know, we’re ready to get to work, we continue to work and this is about what we can do to together as one team.”

The UAW members say the strike will continue in shifts until an agreement is reached.