Chicago Assembly Plant supplier to lay off 261 workers because of lost contract

A Ford employee works on the assembly line at the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant in Chicago in this file photo. A supplier to the plant is laying off 261 workers as the result of a lost contract. Content Exchange

A major supplier to the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch will close and lay off 261 workers next spring after losing its contract with Ford.

ZF Chassis Systems Chicago, LLC, notified the Illinois Department of Employment Security that the layoffs would take place in March. The ZF Chassis plant at 3400 E. 126th Place, near Wolf Lake in Chicago, will close permanently.

The German-based auto parts manufacturer ZF originally announced the closure of the South Side plant a year ago.

"We were not awarded the business for the new contract, which is why the plant is closing," company spokesman Tony Sapienza said. "As March is the end date, the process to wind down operations is beginning now."

ZF opened the chassis plant that makes suspension modules in Hegewish in 2004. 

"The majority of employees at that plant have already transitioned to other jobs at Ford or the new supplier," Sapienza said. "ZF also relocated some employees to other ZF facilities. There are about 250 people employed at this facility, most of them are now temps as we continue to transition employees out as noted above. Employees who do not transition to a new position will get a severance that was negotiated with the union."

Workers there are represented by United Auto Workers Local 3212 and made $15 an hour, while often putting in 12-hour shifts. 

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