SPRING HILL, TN (WSMV) - Maury County deputies arrested 11 union members picketing at the General Motors’ south gate late Wednesday morning.

The picketing workers are part of the United Auto Workers’ nationwide strike at GM plants after the labor contract expired on Saturday night.

The picketers were charged with obstruction of passage, essentially blocking the entrance that officers said prevented people from entering the plant.

Cell phone video taken by several protestors at the scene showed the union members being led away in handcuffs by Maury County deputies.

“It got serious in a hurry and things got escalated,” said Michael Herron, chairman of UAW Local 1853, which represents the Spring Hill workers. “We have worked all day to make sure everybody is safe and everybody is going what they need to do to protect the workers here.”

News4 spoke with a worker and his wife who are employed by a third party not affiliated with the union. He said it got tense as the picketers approached their car as he tried to enter the plant.

“Three different guys hit my door. She’s crying, freaking out. It was real, awful. It was terrifying,” said Billy Batten.

Batten went home for the day. He doesn’t know what he will do on Thursday.

Bond for most of those arrested for obstruction of passage was set at $500. Most have made bond and been released.

Herron said workers are angry about General Motors cutting off their health benefits. He said the UAW is working to restore health benefits through the UAW.

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Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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