Please RSVP no later than Jan 30 10:00 a.m.: (810) 410-4605
Location: Francis Willson Thompson Library
303 Harrison, Flint, MI 48502
Parking: Public City Lot on Kearsley, between Harrison and Saginaw St.
See Map and driving directions below
THE EIGHT DECADE WAR BETWEEN GENERAL MOTORS AND THE UAW IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPACTFUL AND POORLY UNDERSTOOD EPISODES IN AMERICAN HISTORY. 'SIT-DOWN TO SHUT DOWN' IS AN ENGAGING PRESENTATION THAT EXPLORES ITS ONGOING CULTURAL RAMIFICATIONS.
When Flint’s own Billy Durant indented General Motors out of whole cloth it was a cause set in motion in more ways than one.
His creation opened the door for a new way of life for millions of American workers. However, that shared equity went missing to a degree when Durant was ousted from the firm. By the Depression, the structural imbalance exacerbated workers frustrations. It opened the door to the Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37, which on the heels of the Wagner Act, established the United Auto Workers as the single bargaining force for American auto workers.
By the end of WW2, America was experiencing prosperity unseen by any previous generations. This led to more labor strife as workers sought to get a larger piece off that pie. By the end of the 50’s their success had transformed the UAW from a blue collar bargaining unit to a financial, cultural and political powerhouse in it’s own right.
Meanwhile GM strode the earth like a colossus. The greatest corporation the world had ever seen controlled American business, and indeed in countless ways. The stage was set for a new level of conflict and confrontation between two heavyweights.
The story of the eight decade war between General Motors and the UAW is one of the most important, and poorly understood in American history. Coming to grips with the wins and losses resulting from it, and the real story of its engagement and battles, are a way to help lift the way to the future for both labor, management, and businesses, large and small, everywhere.
The program author and presenter, Gary Fisher, Vice President of the Genesee County Historical Society, knows a thing or two about the story. His family started working for GM shortly after it’s founding, and they have lived in and around GM’s founding home community of Flint, Michigan for 109 years. Four generations of his family have worked for the firm, with UAW membership going back to the beginning.
He’s also a businessman, founder of several companies, former leader at two Fortune 500 firms, a counselor and mentor to both blue collar retirees, corporate executives, and business owners. As such, he’s seen the depth, breadth and impact of the monumental decisions that owe their genesis to the 84-Year War. He’s also a financial and wealth advisor, and owner of his own firm. So his unique background allows him to view the conflict from a 360-degree view--a ‘boots on the ground’ perspective, as well as from the corporate boardrooms.
A gifted storyteller with a passion for the topic, makes for a rich experience, regardless of whether or not you were a Union member, company executive, fan of history, or just someone who loves a great story well told!