Subversive Historian – 12/30/08

GM sit down strike

Seventy-two years ago on this day in people’s history, General Motor autoworkers began a sit-down strike. On December 30th, 1936, members of the relatively newly formed United Autoworkers Union decided to lock themselves in Flint Michigan’s Fisher Body plant #1. GM had been planning move operations to another location where unionism was weaker. Instead of walking outside the closed plant with pickets in hand, the workers opted instead to sit-down inside until their demands were met. Into the New Year, the Flint police tried to stop a food delivery to the encamped workers on January 11th 1937 and a battle for the gates of the plant ensued. After both sides sustained injuries, the workers maintained control of the plant. Later that month, a judge ordered the workers out, but the union uncovered that he held more than $150,000 in GM stock.

The great sit-down strike would end the following month in victory for the UAW which gained recognition and soaring membership numbers as a result going to show that a good old-fashioned sit-down strike beats a corporate bailout anyday.

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