A Whole Lott More

Lott Industries in Ohio, USA employs 1200 workers with developmental disabilities. For decades, the company has built car parts. However, with the decline of the auto industry, Lott Industries finds itself in trouble. The company has twelve months to reinvent itself. A Whole Lott More details the most crucial year in Lott Industries’ history and follows three inspiring workers with disabilities as they join the struggle to hold onto the best job they have ever had.

"If we don't add $1.5 million worth of work in the next twelve months", says Joe Murnan, COO of Lott Industries, we may not be in existence. "A Whole Lott More", a feature documentary about one of America's key workplaces for the disabled, shows a dramatic angle on the collapse of the auto industry. 1200 disabled workers depend on Lott Industries for their livelihood. And with unemployment in Toledo, Ohio, at a high, many may not be able to find another job for some time.

For most of Lott's workers, they are working at the best, and often only, job they have ever had. Tim, a champion paralympian who has cerebral palsy and is deaf, cannot imagine working anywhere else - he even suffered depression after he lost his previous job at a local hospital. "It was the only time I really saw him give up," explains Tim's mom. Wanda Huber, a material handler on Lott%u2019s shopfloor, has Turner's and Down's Syndrome. Since she started working at Lott she has been able to afford her own apartment. "People in the outside community look at us as if we were nothing but they can't judge us. At Lott, people care about our feelings. They treat us like human beings."

What is unique about Lott is that the workers can compete with non-disabled on an equal level. Lott has earned a Q1 quality rating which enables it to process car parts at the highest level and capacity, better than or equivalent to any factory in the world. That rating took years of hard work. Even with it, companies do not cut Lott any slack. In fact, as Joe Mernun explains: "we are being held to a higher standard than other companies because if we make a mistake, people will say 'the disabled' messed up."

"A Whole Lott More" is a documentary project that follows several workers with disabilities - including Tim and Wanda - during the most crucial year in Lott Industries' history. Ever since Ford pulled out of town, the company has been struggling. Now, over two years later, Lott has spent almost all its savings keeping workers on the payroll. As Wanda explains: "We came in one day and Ford wasn't here. It hurt us. It hurt us real bad."

Lott Industries began in the 1940s as a workshop where parents could send their disabled children during the summer. It evolved by giving disabled workers paid work that they felt good about. But how can Lott adapt to changing times - and quickly? Tim, Wanda and are resolved to fight for their jobs and to prove that they can contribute a whole lot more than some people believe. As Tim affirms: "All people have the right to be employed."


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