The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Presentation

Well, his brother worked here in Flint, and he was always wanting me to come Flint, go to the Buick cause he worked at Buick. So, I finally quit and I come down here, and I worked at the Buick, I'd just been down four years, then you started at fifty cents an hour, like the truck drivers, and you started at fifty cents an hour, and I asked the foreman, I said "How long do I gotta work before I get a raise?" He said, "you start at fifty and you quit at fifty, whenever you leave, there's no raises."

Well, I worked about four years at that, and I had another brother that worked at Chevrolet and he said, "why don't you quit to move here? It pays a little bit more." So, I quit and I think I hired into the Chevrolet about April eleventh, nineteen thirty, and I worked there until I retired, but the uh... at that time, they had the old bonus system you know, and you hired in at forty-three cents an hour, and uh... they had all different rates. Some worked for forty-three, some worked for forty-four, all doing the same kind of work.

I was running the a drill press, and uh... after I was there, I don't know, a year or two, uh... fifty-two, I think was top rate, uh... cents an hour, and bonus. Well I think the second year, they come along, they said they had to give everybody a cut, and those that were getting less would be getting cut less, and those that were getting pretty well to fifty-two would be cut more.

Well, I noticed that I was getting, I guess forty-four, fourty-five... they cut me a penny, so I asked the general foreman about it. I said, "How come that I got cut, you know? According to me, that your saying, those that were getting less would be cut less." Well, he said, "Connelly, we don't uh... we don't have nothing to do with that. That's all done up in the main office." So the next day I come in a little early [inaudible], I was on the second shift so I went up to the main office, and I uh... inquired there and the girl said you talk to a certain guy over at the desk there, so I went over and asked him. Why he said, "no," he said, "they told you wrong, we don't do that up here," he said, "that's all done down in the department where you worked. They're familliar with your work." So, I went down and I collared this general foreman and I told him what I'd done. Oh, he got mad boy.

He said, "You want that job over there, you get over there on it." So I got on it. Well, I uh... so there were so many things that nobody liked, they treated you like a dog, you know. If you wanted to go to the restroom or the toilet, you had to ask them, and they pulled a watch on you to see how long you were gone, and they pulled a watch on you come back to see how long you'd gone, you know. Stuff like that, that's what brought on this whole thing.

Show Transcript Speaker: Leo Connelly. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Date of interview: 3-6-1980. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.