The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Presentation


Started on the second shift, and uh, I tried to get on for years, on days see? Cause I had a family and I had uh, five children [inaudible]. But they wouldn't listen to you in those days for nothin', they'd just say you do what we say, and uh, you wouldn't... you had no chance what so ever.

Well, when we got the uh, when got organized, after the strike was over we went back in and we got our first barganing committee and I asked immediately to get on days, and I went on days about two days after.

But up to that time they wouldn't they wouldn't come to a [inaudible] to you about nothin', they just... if you had a grievance, or thought you had one, you'd go down to the superintendent where you had to go, he'd be sittin' there with his feet on top of the desk and uh, half of the time he'd never let you in. He'd just say "get out, if you don't like it, there's people on the hill waitin for your job." That's the condition we had. They wouldn't talk to you about nothing', they'd just say "you do what we say," Nothing else.

Then we had a fella that come in as General Manager. He was general, well he was general [inaudible] over everything. His name was Arnold Lenz, and uh, he uh, he was a German and he could hardly talk any English at all, but he was the big shot. And he seen what was going on, so he thought he would compromise with us by setting up what he called a works council. See?

For bargaining with us, and that's before we sat down, and uh, all the bargaining we could do after he set that up, was to bargain with him. We couldn't bargain with our supervisor, we couldn't bargain with the foreman. We had to go directly to him, and he uh, all you go out of him when you went there was yes and no, yes and no and the most of it was no.

[inaudible] That's the way he operated that, and he told us one time when we were bargaining, trying to bargain, that he hired his men from the neck down, or say uh, a strong back and a weak mind, and that's the way he hired the men.

Show Transcript Speaker: Leo Robinson. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Date of interview: 7-13-1978. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.