The documents in this section present the official positions of GM and the UAW during the Flint strike. They include correspondence and communication made public during the dispute between the corporation, union officials, and workers.
The songs, photographs, and video in this section explore how GM employees and their families experienced the forty-four-day sit-down strike.
Participants in protest movements of all sorts had long relied on songs to convey messages, share frustrations, boost morale, and foster a sense of community. Songs proved "better than a thousand speeches" at motivating workers to join in and stay together (Lynch 124). The GM sit-down strikers and their supporters both sang and composed songs about their experiences in and outside the factory. In most instances, they fashioned new lyrics to well-known melodies, a practice that made it easier for fellow strikers to join in.
Photographs provide another window onto the experiences of sit-down strikers. A variety of individuals — journalists, documentary photographers, and GM, UAW, and government officials — recorded images of the strike on film for numerous purposes. Some of the shots were carefully posed; others were more candid. Whatever their intent, the images below capture important dimensions of how strikers and their families survived the six-week ordeal.
In addition to amusing themselves while on strike, members of the community supplied the sit-down strikers with entertainment from outside the factory. The operator of a local theater, for example, sent several entertainers into Fisher One, while the Contemporary Theater of Detroit staged a specially adapted two-act play, Virtue Rewarded, in both Fisher plants. The actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin also donated showings of Modern Times, a film which depicted life on the assembly line.
This section provides broader perspectives on the Flint sit-down strike. The first five documents reproduce editorials or cartoons published for national audiences during or immediately after the strike. The last two documents contain graphs depicting membership in labor unions and participation in strikes.