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Families split, children stay behind

This snapshot, dated November 27, 2018, features a banner of the Chevrolet Cruze model vehicle at the Lordstown General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, File)

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – Hundreds of workers in four General Motors factories scheduled to close shortly before January face a painful decision: Take that Offer the company to work at another factory – possibly hundreds of miles away – even if it means leaving behind their families, their homes and everything they've built. Or stay and risk losing their high paying jobs.

The automaker says that almost all of its workers in the US, whose jobs are at risk, are waiting for them. Many of the planned factories in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland have already relocated voluntarily to factories in the Midwest and South to take no chances.

Others are still tormenting the decision because they are not sure whether they want to sell their homes or hold on to them hoping their works can be reopened.

The announced in November rebuilding of the car manufacturer is necessary to cut costs and put money in new vehicles. The factory closures still need to be negotiated with the union, giving the workers a glimmer of hope.



Anthony Sarigianopoulos spent 25 years in GM's plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where the last Chevrolet was standing Cruze will roll off the assembly line sometime later this month.

He has two sons in elementary school and a former wife he gets along well with, and his parents are right down in the suburb of Youngstown, where he grew up. 19659007] Sarigianopoulos, who checks and repairs cars at the end of the line, knows he's lucky enough to have a job, even if he's elsewhere – unlike most of the 8,000 employees that GM has fired and those who have There are jobs losing to nearby suppliers of the automaker.

But he also does not want to move and miss ball games and school concerts, because he knows that his boys almost do not go to school until he retires.

Volunteering for another plant would also mean he could not come back when Lordstown reopened. However, if he is forced to change after the factory closes, the option to return to his union contract would still be open.

"It's part of the game of chess," he said.

For example, 48-year-old Sarigianopoulos filled a notebook with charts and graphs showing the advantages and disadvantages of the transfer. What he has decided for the time being – unless he has to change – stops and hopes that the plant will build a new vehicle.



Andrea Repasky did not have much choice. Even if it meant saying goodbye to her older parents, a niece she loves very much, her favorite pizza and her mother's wedding soup.

She had to keep her job because she is a breast cancer survivor and the risk of the disease comes back. "I could not afford to miss out on my health benefits," she said. The plant's 42-year-old team leader volunteered to leave the Youngstown area to find a new job in Indiana and let them stay closer to home rather than being shipped to a plant in Tennessee or Texas ,

"That was my goal, to drive a car if something happened to my family that forbid God," she said.

Repasky For over a month, she has worked at the GM Truck plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she shares an apartment with a friend who also moved there.

While she desperately misses her family and everything in her hometown, she said that her decision was easier because she is not married and has no children. Some colleagues left without their children, so that the young people could stay behind and finish the school year.

"I cry when I think about it," Repasky said. "How do you explain to your children that mommy or daddy are leaving and see us on the weekends?"



Tiffany Davis feels the stress both at home and in the world the only elementary school in Lordstown, where she teaches the fifth grade.

The students know that in a few months they will say goodbye to some of their classmates. These include three out of 18 in their class.

"They are not the spunky, carefree crew they were at the beginning of the year," said Davis, 35.

She and her husband, who has been working, speak for almost 17 years on GM's assembly line almost every night about what to do next.

"It conquered our lives, but how could it not?" Davis said. "It's exhausting, it's exhausting, no matter what decision we make, we worry that it's the wrong thing."

The couple did not opt ​​for a transfer for the time being. But they sell their house and move with their two children to the attic of their mother-in-law, so they do not have to pay for two houses when they are forced to leave. They also canceled summer holidays and got out on cable television and pizza nights on Friday.

"We are destroying our entire lives right now because we have no answers," she said. "We know we definitely do not have to follow GM."



About two decades after the founding of the New Beginnings Outreach Ministries in Youngstown, Ohio, Melvin Trent stood in front of about 150 members in early February from his church and told them he would leave.

His wife, an engineer at GM, was sent to her SUV facility in Arlington, Texas.

"Everywhere in the congregation people could hear people crying The person said," It feels like my mother died, "he said." For some, I was the only pastor they ever knew. "[19659007] His wife has already moved and he will come to her after her son graduated from high school in May. "We've never been so disconnected," he said.

55-year-old Trent retires after 35 When the automaker retired, saying it was "a breeze" to accept the move, but not an easy one 19659007] "The first thing I did was go to church and I cried like one Baby, because I left something that I gave birth to and something I loved, "he said," but it was the right decision for our family. "

He added," I'm not leaving my natural family, but my church family. "


Associated Press writer Tom Kri contributed to Detroit.

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