GM workers filed out of the Arlington plant this afternoon. Pleased to be back on the job after an 8 week furlough. Employee Thomas Pead says, "It felt good because, hey, out there waiting on employment, it's pretty rough."
The assembly line isn't in full swing yet, employees say. They told us full production should start tomorrow. Employee Debra Johnson says, "You're gettin the cars built in the body shop and then they're gonna progress on through the paint shop, then chassis and trim."
Workers say the mood inside was calm, cool and collected today. They say they exchanged questions and concerns about the future of GM and their plant, but answers are harder to come by. Employee Raymond Dionne says, "We're just waiting to see how bad it is cause we don't have that much communication. We get it in a piecemeal, a little piece here and there. We're not sure what everything's going to be in the end."
That is also the case outside Lear Corporation's Arlington plant. Some of the 500 workers there who assemble car seats for GM SUV's today protested what they're calling a lockout by management and the use of replacement workers. Protestor Patty Black says, "We wanna work. We're here to work, but they won't let us."
A Lear spokesperson told me the company is not locking workers out. He says their contract extension expired in late June, and the union rejected a Lear offer. He says after that, workers were called back from an 8 week layoff that coincided with GM's and last week, workers "disrupted production" and completed only 18-percent of their required production. Employee Michael Agyemang says, "It's not it's going to benefit them at all. We just have to come into compromise, so they will benefit and we also will benefit."