Monday 11th January 1937
Twelve days into a general sit-down strike at the General Motors (GM) factory in Flint, Michigan, General Motors security forces and the Flint Police Department moved in to evict the strikers. A pitched battle broke out at Fisher body plant #2, as strikers held off police and GM security with fire hoses and jury-rigged slingshots, and the police responded with bullets and tear gas. The pickets outside the plant assisted the strikers however they could, breaking windows to ventilate the factory when police filled it with tear gas, and creating barricades with their own vehicles to prevent police from driving past the plant’s open doors. Finally, Governor Frank Murphy ordered the National Guard in to stem the violence. The sit-down strike lasted 44 days, and ended in GM’s surrender to the demands of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW). GM was the first of the “Big Three” auto makers to make a deal with the UAW. The era of repressive labor practices in the auto industry was ending.