There were 60 sit-down strikes
in Chicago in the month of March alone.
Flint Sit-Down Strike
occurs; UAW becomes collective bargaining agent at GM
The Vancouver Sit-Down Strike
of 1938 involved more than one thousand transients who were protesting the fact that provincial and federal governments had been unable to formulate a permanent strategy for dealing with the unemployment that had ravaged the country for the better part of a decade.
But she also spoke of workers' capacity, arguing: "My conception of the strike of the future is not to strike and go out and starve, but to strike and remain in and take possession of the necessary property of production." In this way, the extraordinary veteran of nineteenth-century class, race, and gender struggles predicted the sit-down strike
of the future, which took place first in factories, then at sit-ins to integrate public facilities, and still later in college classrooms and presidents' offices to protest the brutal war on Vietnam.
Workers, recognizing the power of sit-down strikes
, refused to rely on the paternalistic goodwill of the government and launched job actions across Michigan and the nation.
"I've been in the UAW for sixty-two years," says Robert Keith, a veteran of the 1937 Flint sit-down strikes
. "And I've never seen anything like this."
Or, for that matter, how many students in secular institutions learn about Samuel Gompers, the sit-down strikes
of the 1930s, or about labor "goons."
In South Africa, on the other hand, there has been an enormous mass movement, with many facets, ranging from guerrilla warfare to extremely militant trade unions to sit-down strikes
to these mini-general strikes that they call stay-aways when millions of people stay away from work for a day.
The thesis of both books can be summarized fairly simply: coastal workers developed their own ideas about what kinds of reforms they wanted, and, most important, they also developed the organizational capacities and strategic weapons that made possible the dramatic regionwide sit-down strikes
of August 1980, which finally compelled the Polish Communist Party to accept an independent trade union for Polish workers.
Government statistics on sit-down strikes
indicated that nearly half a million workers had engaged in such strikes since Sept.
The sit-down strikes
and bloody confrontations of 1937 notwithstanding, Lewis remained profoundly pro-capitalist, and, along with the rest of the CIO leadership, went to great lengths to demonstrate that industrial unionism was prepared to shoulder the responsibility of making American basic industry a more stable and efficient undertaking.
These experiments include union organizing, but also other forms, including strategies of resistance that retail workers employ daily in order to "reassert their self-worth and try to improve their daily lives." (55) While unionization rates are traditionally lower in retail than in manufacturing, retail workers have formed unions since as early as 1890 in Michigan, and one of the large sit-down strikes
in 1937 took place in the Woolworth's retail chain in Detroit.