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Roxboro, Butner Plants Hoping for End to Strike

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ROXBORO — Word that the General Motors strike may be over is good news for employees. It's also a boost for thousands of people who work for GM suppliers. In Butner, some people's livelihoods are dependent on the GM strike ending soon.

The Athol company in Butner has two plants. One has been closed down because of the strike. Monday, the parking lot was totally empty.

About 70 people have been affected in all and they say they can't wait for this to end.

"I've been here 11 years, and I have never seen it like this before," said

A handful of employees at the Butner Athol plant have had at least some part-time work during the strike. Usually the shop floor where they make vinyl interiors for GM vehicles is bustling with 25 employees on the job.

Normally, working 40 hours, you have money on time to pay your bills," said worker Ernestine Henderson. "Now, we have to wait on an unemployment check, and that's not on time all the time."

The GM strike has also caused 130 layoffs at Collins and Aikman plant in Roxboro about 25 miles away. There, the fabric used by Athol is made. People from both companies wonder if the GM strike is really coming to an end. If it does, they say, they'll have more than one reason to celebrate.

"I'm already getting excited about it because there are a lot of orders that we know we need to fill," said Henderson. "Once we go back full-time, we know it's going to take us into [overtime] for quite some time."

Executives at Athol estimate that since the strike began two months ago, the company has lost several million dollars in sales. Collins and Aikman, company-wide, has lost over $1 million a day in revenues.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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