1945 : UAW Initiates Strike Against General Motors
Nov 21 all-day

Joining the movement: Workers at the 36th Street GM plant in Wyoming joined in a bitter 113-day nationwide UAW strike starting in the fall of 1945. It ended in the spring of 1946, with a contract that provided a raise, paid vacation and overtime wages.

GM Strike

From November 21, 1945, until March 13, 1946 (113 days), the CIO-affiliated United Automobile Workers (UAW), organized 320,000 hourly workers in 96 plants to launch a nationwide strike against the General Motors Corporation. It was “the longest strike against a major manufacturer” that the UAW had yet seen, and it was also “the longest national GM strike in its history,” according to labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein.

As director of the UAW’s General Motors Department, i.e., coordinator of union relations with GM, Walter Reuther put forth the demands of the strikers: A 30 percent increase in wages and a hold on product prices.

 113-day strike against GM in 1945

President Truman and Walter Reuther Face Off

The GM strike was one of a number of large-scale labor actions in the immediate aftermath of World War II, when labor generally endorsed a “no strike” pledge to aid the war effort. Pent-up demands now emerged into the open. Reuther arguedthat the high productivity of modern industrialism offered the potential for permanent prosperity for the American people. But instead the UAW saw GM ownership using their power to maximize profits, creating “planned scarcity” (therefore driving up product prices) while cutting jobs. Such a system caused a cycle of problems, among them that Americans could not even purchase the limited goods they produced.

The possibility for success declined by the beginning of the year 1946, when the United Steelworkers and the United Electrical Workers accepted 17.5 percent wage increases. In the final contract with GM, UAW workers agreed to a raise of 18.5 cents an hour (17.5 percent), paid vacations, and overtime. The union gained no role in determining product pricing.

Although the strike was only partially successful, it did point the way toward the normalization of a decent working-class standard of living, with price controls geared toward maintaining the economic situation of the nation as a whole in the most socially beneficial way, honoring the sacrifices Americans made to defeat fascism.

In part owing to Walter Reuther leadership of this long strike, he was made president of the UAW in 1946. The decades from the late 1940s until the mid-1970s are seen as the apogee of “middle-class” success, when union density rose to its highest level, and solid union contracts, combined with reforms such as Medicare and expanded voting rights, guaranteed a better future for our children.

Sources :

Today in labor history: 113-day strike against GM in 1945“, People’s World, November 13, 2015.

Erin Marquis, “5 largest manufacturing strikes in United Automotive Workers history“, Autoblog, May 12, 2015.

1977: I-96 Between Muskegon and Detroit Completed
Nov 21 all-day

Interstate 96 in Michigan

On November 21, 1977, I-96 between Muskegon and Detroit was completed, with the opening of the final stretch of the Jeffries Freeway between M-39 and I-275.

Source : Detroit Historical Society Facebook Page

2005 : The Night a Red Wing Died, But Was Brought Back to Life
Nov 21 all-day

Every precious second became more and more desperate. There was Mike Babcock, a first-year Detroit Red Wings coach, who waved frantically for paramedics. Men in suits flooded the Wings bench. Wide-eyed players stood helplessly.

Doctors pumped their arms rapidly atop the chest of Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer, his No. 2 jersey flat on the floor, out of the view of the fans and cameras. Moments earlier, his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame competed against some of the best hockey players on the planet. But when he came off the ice, his heart thumped 300 beats per minute, unbeknownst to his teammates.

Fischer went into convulsions and cardiac arrest. It was an eerie scene as Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper skated a stretcher from the zamboni entrance to the blue-line door of the Detroit bench. Other Red Wings players – helpless as medics performed CPR to revive Fischer – exited the ice via the Nashville bench.

Fischer, who had an abnormal electrocardiogram reading in 2002, was fortunate that team doctor Tony Colucci was three rows away from the bench. He knew immediately Fischer’s heart was the issue, jumped down the railing to the playing level and cut through his shoulder pads and Winged Wheeled jersey.

Fischer underwent ventricular fibrillation, which is the most serious cardiac rhythm disturbance, according to the America Heart Association. Colucci said Fischer “was flat-lined for 24 seconds,” according to Medics used a defibrillator to shock his heart, which ultimately saved his life.

What the (TV) camera couldn’t catch (was the) intensity and the feverishness of our doctors and how Jiri was fighting to stay alive,” Shanahan said to Albom. “It was unbelievable. This could have been so much worse.”

Fischer never played again, a sad ending for a 25-year old filled with exuberance and potential. He was the last Red Wing to leave the ice in 2002 when the Wings beat the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 to win the Stanley Cup. He actually didn’t play in the game due to a suspension for cross-checking Tommy Westlund in the mouth during Game 4, but he took the ice for the championship celebration and posed with countless pictures as die-hard Wings fans pressed against the glass in the lower bowl.

Three weeks after the near-tragic accident, Fischer sniffled and sobbed at a press conference in Joe Louis Arena. He didn’t want a precious career ripe with potential to be taken away.

But it had to end, considering he suffered two more episodes in the next 15 days after the collapse. He wore a defibrillator vest that indicated ventricle fibrillation was the issue, both times. It would be impossible for a franchise to medically insure a player with his history.

The life-saving experience began a quest for Fischer, who traveled across the country to medical symposiums. He tried to discover the root cause for his cardiac arrest that 2005 night at Joe Louis Arena. He’s visited experts, shared theories, and despite advances in technology, he still hasn’t found a concrete answer as of this past summer.

And that’s OK. Life is good for Fischer, who’s in his seventh year as the Red Wings director of player development and is thankful for every breath.

“I died,” Fischer told’s Scott Burnside in 2006. “I died and I was brought back.”

Source : Bruce Mason, “The night hockey didn’t matter”, Detroit Athletic Co. Blog, December 6, 2013.

2019 : First Michigan Black Lieutenant Governor to Sign Bill Into Law
Nov 21 all-day

Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist has signed a bill into law, making him the first black lieutenant governor to sign a bill into law in Michigan’s history, according to the governor’s office.

“As the first black lieutenant governor to sign a bill into law, today’s historic action symbolizes the opportunity that exists when we create a space for more participation from a more diverse set of voices and experiences,” Gilchrist said. “Governor Whitmer and I built the most diverse administration in our state’s history because we believe that our practices, policies, and proposals should reflect and enable Michiganders from all backgrounds to be successful.”

The bill signed will reverse the lifelong ban on felons who submit applications for insurance producer licenses by allowing the Department of Insurance and Financial Services to issue those licenses to individuals who have not been convicted a felony in the last 10 years, according to the governor’s office.

While many applicants with prior felonies will be granted an insurance producer license, the new law will still provide exemptions for people with violent, fiduciary, or financial-related crimes, according to the office.

Under the current law, Michigan does not grant insurance licenses to individuals with felony convictions, and as a result the state denied 61 applications due to prior felony convictions in 2018. according to the office.

Lt. Gilchrist is serving as acting governor while Gov. Whitmer is overseas on a business trip to Israel to strengthen relationships and build business ties with startups and mobility companies to help Michigan compete for good-paying, high-tech jobs, according to the office.

The bill will take immediate effect.

Source :  “Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist signs first bill as acting governor”, WILX, Channel 10, Lansing, November 21, 2019.

1893 : Harley Earl, American Automobile Designer and Executive, Born
Nov 22 all-day

12-april 10-harley earl

General Motors designer Harley Earl sits inside the Buick Y-Job, the industry’s first concept car.

Harley J. Earl (November 22, 1893 – April 10, 1969) was an American automotive designer and business executive. He was the initial designated head of design at General Motors, later becoming vice president, the first top executive ever appointed in design of a major corporation in American history. He was an industrial designer and a pioneer of modern transportation design. A coachbuilder by trade, Earl pioneered the use of freeform sketching and hand sculpted clay models as automotive design techniques. He subsequently introduced the “concept car” as both a tool for the design process and a clever marketing device.

Earl’s Buick Y-Job was the first concept car. He started “Project Opel”, which eventually became the Chevrolet Corvette, and he authorized the introduction of the tailfin to automotive styling. During World War II, he was an active contributor to the Allies’ research and development program in advancing the effectiveness of camouflage.

He is also remembered as the first styling chief in the United States automobile industry, the originator of clay modeling of automotive designs, the wraparound windshield, the hardtop sedan, and factory two-tone paint, and tailfins. He said in 1954, “My primary purpose for twenty-eight years has been to lengthen and lower the American automobile, at times in reality and always at least in appearance.” The extremely low and long American cars of the 1960s and 1970s show the extent to which Earl influenced an entire industry and culture.

He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1986.

One of his concept car designs, the turbine-powered Firebird I, is reproduced in miniature on the Harley J. Earl Trophy, which goes to the winner of the season-opening Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

Conceived the CorvetteInt

Introduced the idea of tailfins on cars


Source : Harley Earl Wikipedia Entry.

1910 : MAC Football, Baseball, and Basketball Coach Chester Brewer Honored
Nov 22 all-day

Coach Chester Brewer liked to take his dog Laddie to work.  Photo in 1911 MAC Yearbook courtesy of MSU Archives.

The biggest event covered in the Lansing Michigan paper on November 23, 1910 was a banquet held the night before Thanksgiving at the Hotel Downey to honor outgoing Michigan Agricultural College football, baseball and basketball coach Chester Brewer. Brewer coached the MAC Aggies from 1903-1910, never losing a home game on the gridiron. He returned to MAC from 1917-1920. Seventy-five guests, including many prominent citizens, attended.

After a “sumptuous and well-served banquet” the guests were treated to cigars. Then the speeches began. Among the presenters were future Michigan Supreme Court Justice Howard Wiest and founder of Motor Wheel William K. Prudden.

More Lansing Trivia : The Hotel Downey, standing in the current location of the Knapp’s building, was built as the Lansing House Hotel with bounty money obtained from the capture of John Wilkes Booth. The Downey burned in February 1912.

More About Coach Brewster, Member of MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2000

Image result for coach chester brewer mac

Chester Brewer was Michigan Agricultural College’s first full-time athletics director and was one of the Spartans’ most successful coaches, compiling impressive records in football, baseball and basketball. Brewer, who also coached track and field plus cross country during his tenure, was appointed professor of physical culture and coach of all sports in 1903. Born in Owosso, Mich., he was a graduate of Wisconsin where he was a four-sport athlete and gained All-Western recognition in football. Brewer served three stints as football coach at MAC. He served from 1903-10 and then again for one season in 1917 and 1919. Brewer produced a career record of 58-23-7 (.699) with his teams posting shutouts in 49 of the 88 games he coached and at one point going undefeated in 43-straight contests at home. He coached MAC baseball teams to a record of 76-61-1 (.564) from 1904-10 and 1918-20 and compiled a 70-25 mark (.736) as head basketball coach from 1904-10. Brewer left East Lansing in 1910 to accept a position as athletics director and coach at the University of Missouri. He returned to MAC for one-year stints in 1917 and 1919, and served in 1918 as director of Army Athletics for the U.S. War Department. He returned to Michigan State College in 1919 as director of athletics and professor of physical education, remaining in that post until 1922 when he accepted a similar position at the University of California-Davis. He left UC Davis to return to Missouri where he served as athletics director from 1923-35. In 1951, MSU established the Chester L. Brewer Award that is presented annually to a graduating senior for distinguished performance in athletics and scholarship and for possessing a high degree of character, leadership and personality. Brewer passed away in 1953 at the age of 77.

Sources : “Thanksgiving in Lansing 100 Years Ago”, CADL Blog, November 28, 2010.

1967 : The Who Perform at Southfield High School
Nov 22 all-day

The Who perfroming at Southfield High School Gym, courtesy of Hour Detroit

The night of November 22, 1967, is indelibly etched in the memories of local music fans lucky enough to nab a ticket to The Who’s performance at Southfield High School’s gym. “It was packed to the gills, and I was in the front row,” recalls Don Henderson, who shot this photo. The British group was preceded by warm-up bands The Unrelated Segments and The Amboy Dukes (with Ted Nugent). Singer Roger Daltrey’s back is to the crowd in front of drummer Keith Moon while guitarist Pete Townshend puts the finishing touches on his signature windmill move, in which he wound up his arm in anticipation of striking a furious power chord.

Source : George Bulanda, “The Way It Was”, Hour Detroit, September 2015.

1975 : First MHSAA State High School Football Championships Held
Nov 22 all-day

The first MHSSA state high school football championship games were played. Winners were Livonia Franklin in Class A, Dearborn Divine Child in Class B, Ishpeming in Class C, and Crystal Falls in Class D.

1976 : Cathy Guisewite Launches Popular Comic Strip
Nov 22 all-day

I am Invincible - Cathy Cartoon Sticker

Cathy Guisewite was the creator and cartoonist behind the long-running nationally syndicated comic strip “Cathy,” one of the first mainstream comics created by a woman. Appearing for the first time in 1976, the strip ran for 34 years, chronicling and finding humor in the title character’s eternal struggles with weight, love, work, and her loving but overly involved mother. For Guisewite, it channeled the obsessions and conflicts of an everyday American woman caught between society’s traditional expectations and new feminist ideals.

Cathy Guisewite - Cartoonist who created the comic strip Cathy, about a career woman facing the issues anhd challenges of eating, work, relationships and being a mother. As Cathy put it in one of her strips, "The four basic guilt groups". Guisewite retired the comic stripon 10/3/10, after 34 years.

Guisewite grew up in Midland, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English in 1972. By age 26, she had already made quick strides in the advertising world, becoming the first female vice president at the W.B. Doner & Co agency. She submitted “Cathy” for publication at the urging of her mother with whom she shared the “scribbled stick figure drawings” that she had started doodling to vent her daily frustrations. The strip was immediately picked up for syndication in 1976, and within a few short years, Guisewite was CEO of Cathy, Inc., overseeing the strip, books, TV and mountains of “Cathy” merchandise.

Guisewite is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Reuben Award for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” from the National Cartoonists Society in 1992. In 1987, she received an Emmy® for “Outstanding Animated Program” for her first animated special, Cathy. Before Guisewite retired the strip in 2010, it appeared in approximately 1,500 newspapers worldwide.

Source :


Makers Profile : Cathy Guisewite

The Final Cathy Comic Strip

1983 : Sen. Phil Mastin Recalled Over Tax Raise Vote
Nov 22 all-day

Recall fever swept the legislature in 1983 after it went along with newly elected Gov. James Blanchard’s call for a 38-percent increase in the state income tax. Only one Republican — Sen. Harry DeMaso of Battle Creek — voted for the controversial measure.

Numerous recall efforts were launched against lawmakers who voted for the tax hike. Two were successful.

On November 22, 1983, Sen. Phil Mastin (D-Pontiac) was recalled by voters in his district. Eight days later, Sen. David Serotkin (D-Mt. Clemens) met the same fate. Both men had been in office for less than a year and had won by the narrowest of margins.

They would be replaced by Republicans, switching Senate control to the GOP — a majority it has not relinquished. It also elevated John Engler to Senate majority leader, where he laid the groundwork to unseat heavily favored Gov. Blanchard in 1990.

Source : Charlie Cain, “Reporters Notes”, Dome, July 16, 2009.