1937 : Lansing Automobile Strike

March 10, 2023 all-day

REO Ramblers perform during Lansing Auto Strike, 1937

March 10-April 7, 1937.

Under the stress of wage reductions and layoffs resulting from the nation’s Depression, more than 1500 workers at REO Motor Car Co. in Lansing went on strike March 10, 1937.

Lansing Auto Worker declared during the event, “Reo Strike Is Nation’s Model Demonstration”. Reo workers shut down the factory and occupied it for a month. Workers remained peaceful, engaging in activities such as checkers, volleyball, and singing with the Reo Ramblers.

On April 7, 1937 the strike was settled, and the UAW was approved as the workers’ union.

Sources :

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Matthew Miller, “Lansing’s sit-down strike 75 years ago brought UAW”, Lansing State Journal, March 11, 2012.

For more information see The story of Reo Joe : work, kin, and community in Autotown, U.S.A. by Lisa M. Fine. Philadelphia, PA : Temple University Press, 2004. MSU community users can also read an electronic version.

Also check out the Lansing Auto Town Gallery courtesy of the Michigan State University Library Vincent Voice Library for interviews with former REO workers and their families, some of who recall the sit-down strike of 1937.

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