“We knew the negotiations were coming up and we knew midnight on September 15 was the deadline,” Zilka said.
That negotiation the mayor is referring to involves Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers and their union workers. Right now, a deal between the two sides is at a standstill.
Several plants in Northeast Ohio have already announced their intention to join. This includes the Avon Lake-based Ford Assembly Plant.
If no deal gets done, the 1,800 employees could be impacted.
“We have about 13,000 thousand jobs in Avon Lake and they are 1,800 so it is quite a percentage,” Zilka said.
Zilka has been Avon Lake’s Mayor for 12 years. In that time, he has navigated through previous negotiations and a threat that the Ford plant would be moved out of Avon Lake altogether.
“Everyone worked together. They could have closed this plant altogether, but they chose Avon Lake and they chose to expand,” Zilka said.
His hope is that this looming strike will just be another speed bump in an otherwise flourishing relationship.
“We are just hoping that they settle quickly. If not by tonight, then the next couple of days or weeks,” Zilka said.
For now, all the Mayor can do is hope for a resolution. His town’s economy depends on it.
“The perfect situation would be a resolution tonight at midnight. If not, we will be here tomorrow taking care of the business of Avon Lake,” Zilka said.