Feb 10, 2009

Wear a white shirt on Wednesday and celebrate the end of the Flint Sit-Down Strike and the creation of the middle class

People all over Michigan and the nation will be wearing white shirts on Wednesday to mark an anniversary of a courageous and historic day that helped create the middle class and raised the standard of living of all U.S. workers.

White Shirt Day celebrates the historic 1937 sit-down strike at General Motor's production complex in Flint that led to the United Auto Workers (UAW) recognition as the sole bargaining agent for GM workers and led to the unionization of the United States automobile industry and helped create the middle class.

The strike began On December 30, 1936 when workers took control and occupied the plant. The workers fought off tear gas and an assault by police to retake the plant, and the parties finally reached agreement on February 11, 1937 that recognized the UAW as the exclusive bargaining representative for GM's employees.

White Shirt Day was first celebrated on Feb. 11, 1948 as a way to honor the men and women who participated in the 1937 sit-down strike. White shirts are worn to work on the anniversary of the end of the strike. This action was intended to send a message to management that "blue collar" workers had earned the right to the same respect as their management counterparts, according to Region 1C of the UAW.

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