The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Presentation


Course the minute everybody went in there and got ready to go to work all these formen saw all these union buttons. Superintendant was going up and down the lines, you know what I mean, talking to the formans, and they never said a damn word, though we all started working, and pretty soon the Superintendant come down on our line there, I was on metal finishing, on final touch up, before it went into the bond-right and uh... he said something to Jack Bellancourt was our forman and uh, Jack went up to Bloomfield. Bloomfield was one of the inspectors, and Jack Pealon was the other, and he says, "You boys will have to take your union buttons off." Of course I was right there, right close by and I said, "Well how come they have to take 'em off Jack?" He said, "well there potential formen."

I said, "Well hell, aren't I a potential forman?" I said, "Any one of us are potential formen aren't we?" He said "No, the inspectors are potential formen." I said, "well that don't make sense," I said "hell everbody is a potential formen," I said "if he's got the ability, they can make a formen out of him." Well, he said "They're either gonna have to take the buttons off, or they can't work." I said, "well, hell that don't sound fair to me."

In the meantime he went up the line, he quit talking to me, he went on up the line, he got two guys that didn't belong to our union see, and he put em down there inspecting. In the meantime Jack Pealon and Bloomfield just continued to mark their jobs and we worked right behind them, soon as they marked jobs we'd finish it. So these two scabs worked further down the line just before it went into the bond-right and they were marking jobs up and we didn't pay no attention, we'd just let 'em go see.

Then Jack Bellancourt came out and he says "They either gotta take their buttons off or they're fired." I said, "you mean that Jack?" He said, "that's right," he said, "that's that." I said "okay, that's it," and I just went like that and I got up and, had these dollies that your jobs were rolling on and I stood up on that and I went just like that, and that thing went down just like that. I mean, it wasn't a minute and that thing smacked like that and one guy walking over towards [inaudible] Bruce Smiley, he went up the stairs there was [inaudible] upstairs and he went up to the can and then it went on up to the upstairs and he went up there and he let a [inaudible] out ahead and he said, "we're down," and boy she went down upstairs just like that.

Right about that time is when uh... the Wheat sisters started taken off, you know what I mean, but we still had a big crowd in there that wanted to stay. But uh, the forman was with us, you know what I mean, and they were mingling in the crowd and they uh, went all the way upstairs. It was cleaner up there and we had more room up in the front.

So we went upstairs so we could kind of get together and find out what the hell was gonna happen, you know, and where we stood. And somebody was shouting in the crowd "let's go outside! Let's go outside and picket! Let's go outside and picket!"[inaudible] A guy, I can't think of his name now, Bob Williams I think it was, he jumped up there alongside of me and he says, "don't you, any you guys leave," he said, "if any of you leave that's the end of your strike," he says, "you know that." And I said, "that's right," I said "we're stayin' in, were not takin' any vote," I said, "we're gonna stay in."

Show Transcript Speaker: Maynard Mundale. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Date of interview: 7-22-1980. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.