The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Presentation


Well, as the plant protection the, and the, those in the employ of the company's security were massed at what was then called the Personnel Building, which was immediately adjacent to Plant Nine. They knew, of course, in their own minds, this is where the big thing's going to be in Plant Nine, so they were down in the basement with their tear gas, their clubs, and no doubt had live ammunition, although we never did actually discover any of that.

So they were all massed, awaiting, and promptly at three, or, shortly before three-thirty, as a matter of fact, about twenty minutes after three, twenty-five after three, this is when the men inside Plant Nine began their big fracas. So, immediately then the plant protection and the security guards came out and their first thing was, they were all equipped with gas masks.

They started, after beating a few heads in and so forth, they started firing their tear gas in there. Well, of course, for those who had the protection of gas masks this was no great thing, and the others were incapacitated, you might say. Well, by this time the women's brigade was there, led by Genora Dollinger.

And seeing the, the condition under which the men were operating in there, knowing of course that they were gradually, but slowly being gassed and asphyxiated and choked to death. They ran across, they had their clubs, signs on, really, they were clubs for their own protection or for whatever use, and they used these to a very good advantage. They broke in those windows.

Now in those days the windows were quite low, you could reach 'em from the side, right? [Interviewer] I've seen pictures. [Larry Jones] So they broke in these windows and gave air a chance to get into the plant so that the guys suffered no permanent disability from being gassed in there. A few cracked skulls, and a few things like that, but, so far as having a bad aftereffect from the gas and the like nobody did because the women came in there.

Now, also in conjunction with this, knowing, Genora, of course, knew what was going on because the plans had been made in her apartment. Oh yes, she was privy to the fact. So, when this settled down in Plant Nine, she knew of course that they were going into Plant Four and very shortly the authorities and the police and the security guards would be aware of this and they would maybe rush down there to Plant Four.

So she used a large number of the Women's Brigade to go down in front of Plant Four and formed a human chain there to prevent the police or whoever... [Interviewer] Would you say a large number? Do you have a recollection of the numbers? [Larry Jones] Well, probably fifty or sixty. Probably fifty or sixty. Or, make it forty or fifty, probably forty or fifty.

Show Transcript Speaker: Larry Jones. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.