The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Presentation


Well, first few days was kinda rough. Most of them stood by the windows, cause your families was comin' down, you know, on the Fisher too, was bad for us too because we might a... we had the second floor. See, eh, the company had the first floor, we had the second floor, course everything had to go on a rope on a bucket, eh, a bucket on a rope up the window. But the families come down two three times a day, sometimes more, and we had two or three radios in there and there'd be fellas sittin along the windows looking out you see, and if somebody would come and call for someone that was back, that was known to be there, and if we didn't know where it was we'd send somebody to look for him, see.

Then there wasn't anyone up there patrolling the plant all the time, we just had a steady crew of fellas walkin' around and around the plant that the floors, kinda watching for fire too because guys smoking up there and that was uh... the most dangerous part of the whole plant was up there because there was the paint and the uh... body and there was the trim work.

But they were pretty good, we told em all... one of the things we did was uh, kind of organize a police force and uh, and have our mock drills and everybody took part in, and everybody was real good about it, just [inaudible] and we uh, it wasn't hard to convince them that,uh, we were in a dangerous situation, we don't dare have any accidents, especially in the line of fire and we had designated areas to smoke in, stay there. And uh... then for recreation, like I said, in the meantime they just walked around and around the plant. We just had aisles around those windows, completely around the plant, up and down through the center aisles and there was uh... two different stair wells in there and we kept guys watchin' over there.

Even though we knew the company were down there, we expected the police might come up through there. We kept the guard all the time, we changed guard, and made it sound important, you know what I mean? It kept everybody busy, and then up at front end where they had bodies stored, it happened to be quiet empty there, and, uh, we had a wrastling mat uh... mat in there, they had some pretty good wrastlers, this Carl Dunger was real popular, he was popular all over Genesee County now for a wrastler.

He had classes in there and we had boxing matches, and they had ping-pong tables up there you know, and stuff like that and um... checkers and cards and everything else, you know what I mean? So there was plenty of recreation and, and uh... plenty of exercise too. And they had nothing to do but sleep, if they got tired they'd go back to there pile there and find someplace to sleep, know what I mean? Pile of, uh, cut mats or sheep skins or some confounded thing, you know what I mean?

Show Transcript Speaker: Roscoe Rich. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Date of interview: 7-6-1978. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.