By Martin Smith | 6 February 2014
The Great Sit-Down Strike of 1936-1937 saw US car and component workers take on the powerful multinational car giant, General Motors.
The strike began at Cleveland’s Fisher body plant. The workers there went on strike on 30 December 1936 when two workers were sacked. When the union heard that management were going to remove components from the plant, the workers occupied it and organised a sit-in.
The Flint sit-down strikers set up their own strike committee. A mayor and other civic officials were elected to run the occupation.
The strikers used militant methods to defeat GM. When the police tried to break the strike the workers turned fire hoses on the police. The police made several charges, but withdrew after six hours. The strikers dubbed this “The Battle of Bulls Run”, a mocking reference to the police (“bulls”). Fourteen strikers were injured by gunfire during the battle.
This short film uses original footage and interviews with the strikers to tell the story of one of the most important union victories in US history.