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Nation Wide Sit Down Strike

Nation Wide Sit Down Strike Cause Busy Beaver Button Museum
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Nation Wide Sit Down Strike back Cause Busy Beaver Button Museum
Text on Button: 
A Nation Wide Sit-Down Strike
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White background with black text. Around the edges of the button are two rows of red and white checkered border.

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This slogan likely dates to the sit-down strike by the United Automobile Workers of America (or UAW) in 1936-37, also called the General Motors Strike. Workers organized in 1935 to form the UAW after the Wagner Act in 1933 gave federal recognition of worker’s rights to organize and bargain. Fisher Body Plant workers went on strike to protest poor working conditions and a lack of job security at the plant in Atlanta, Georgia in November 1936, and workers at the plant in Kansas City followed suit in December of the same year. Both strikes began as “sit-down” strikes, which differed from many strikes in that the workers occupied their normal posts within the plant, so that General Motors could not replace them with new hires, and police would have a harder time forcibly removing them from the space without causing property damage. Later in December 1936, workers at the plants in Cleveland, Ohio, and Flint, Michigan began to strike. The sheer number of participants in the strikes, 140,000 employees, along with the production line issues caused by the lack of labor, resulted in a lack of work for other plants, and many of those in turn joined the strikes. In February 1937, GM formally recognized the union, which caused Chrysler and Ford to do the same, permanently changing the labor landscape in this industry.

Sources: 

Roe, J. (n.d.) Striking a chord. KC History. https://kchistory.org/week-kansas-city-history/striking-chord

Catalog ID: 
CA0833
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