1937: General Motors Recognizes UAW

February 11, 2024 all-day

UAW Vice President Wyndham Mortimer and Governor Frank Murphy shake hands after signing strike settlement photo, from the collections of the Walter Reuther Library at Wayne State University

On February 11, 1937, after a three-month series of sit-down strikes across the United States and Canada, General Motors recognized the United Auto Workers union.

On Feb. 11, 1937, the 44-day Flint Sit-Down Strike ended when General Motors recognized the United Auto Workers as the sole bargaining unit for its workers. The strike started Dec. 29, when union members occupied a plant after hearing GM – in anticipation of a strike – had planned to move some equipment out of the plant. Eventually, President Franklin Roosevelt got involved and an agreement was forged.

Within a year, the UAW saw its membership grow to 500,000 members from 30,000. The Flint Sit-down Strike was, as the British Broadcasting System later noted, “the strike heard round the world.”

Sources :

Detroit Historical Society Facebook Page

“Sit-Down Strike Heard Round the World”, Detroit Free Press, December 10, 2008.

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