(fwd from James Zarichny) Flint sit down strike

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Sun Feb 16 15:39:06 MST 2003

(posted Friday)

dms wrote

First, it simply is not true that at every historical juncture, the white
workers have joined with their white bosses against black workers.  It just
ain't so.  Didn't happen when the IWW led strikes in the first decades of
the 20th century; didn't happen in the Flint sitdown, in the Twin Cities
Teamsters strikes, etc.


The historical record on the Flint sit down strike shows a major sin of
omission.  General Motors was incredibly racist.  In both Fisher #1 and
Fisher #2, there was not a single Black worker, not even as a janitor.
At no time did a single striker raise the demand that Black workers be
hired.  The outside picket line was made up of non-Fisher workers.  Most
of the time it was all white, with a lot of Slavic people in it.  On
some occasions, I saw 3, 4, or 5 Black picketers.

In regards to Chevrolet #4, there were a few Black janitors.  General
Motors in Flint did not allow Black workers to work on the production
line or the assembly line.  Not a single Chevrolet striker raise the
demand that General Motors hire Black workers for production or the
assembly line. Chevrolet was a huge building with thousands of workers.
Only a tiny handful of Black workers took part in the strike, and only
one of them stayed in the plant for the entire duration of the strike.

Black workers were not hired for production or the assembly line until
half a decade later during the war when A. Philip Randolph organized a
March on Washington and Roosevelt issued an executive order.  Up to that
time, the Black population of Flint was small.  After jobs opened up, it
swelled rapidly.

                      Jim Zarichny

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