1936 : Flint Sit-Down Strike Begins

December 30, 2021 all-day

On December 30, 1936, Fisher Body workers struck this plant in Flint, Michigan, as the sit-down strikes against General Motors continued. Their primary objective was union recognition.

Violence erupted on January 11, 1937, as an attempt was made to halt food deliveries to the strikers. The street became a battlefield as gunfire, flying debris, tear gas and high pressure water hoses became assault weapons. Sixteen strikers and eleven police officers were wounded. Governor Frank Murphy ordered the National Guard into Flint on January 12.

On February 11, 1937, the strike ended when General Motors accepted the United Auto Workers as bargaining agent for all UAW members. A new era in American labor relations was born as the old open-shop policy of industry gave way to a more modern labor-industry relationship designed to promote justice, stability and mutual interests.

Sources :

The Flint Sit-Down Strike, Michigan Historical Markers website.

December 30, 1936 by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Sit-down strike begins in Flint. History.com

Remembering the Flint Sit-Down Strike, Walter P. Reuther Library Blog, December 17, 2010.

Jeremy Brecher, “The Flint sit-down strike, 1936-1937, Jeremy Brecher”, Libcom.org, September 4, 2013.

Ron Fonger, “75 years ago today, UAW made contract demands of GM as workers occupied Flint plants”, Flint Journal via MLive, January 3, 2012.

Photos from the Detroit News.

The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Gallery, 1936-37

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