The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Presentation


In the summer of 1936, management didn't know it, but the union was organizing quite strongly by this time. But it was one of the hottest summers on record. I think it was ten days in a row that the temperature was a hundred degrees or better. Ten consecutive days. Now, in this period we're talking about there was no ventilation down in the plants, either. If you were lucky you could work by a window and get a little breeze through, otherwise, no ventilation.

The temperatures in many cases reached a hundred-and-thirty, a hundred-and-thirty-five degrees down there. Now, the men after three and four days began to drop from exhaustion, they couldn't take this. Management expected normal production from these people during this period. And I have seen those men on the motor assembly line fall, right there, completely exhausted. And the supervisors and management would not permit that line to be slowed down.

They would, they instructed the people to step over the fallen man who was there and continue their operation and they would get somebody to come and drag that, that unconscious worker out of there. Now, picture that insensitivity, if you can, that they were ordered, the men were ordered to walk over their buddy who was next to them lying on the floor there in order to put that piston in that motor and continue that...

Well, you know, this was an extreme example of their insensitivity, but anybody who would have a labor practice like that is capable of doing anything, you know?

Show Transcript Speaker: Larry Jones. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Date of interview: 6-9-1978. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.