Union demonstrators march outside the Fleetwood and Cadillac plan in Detroit and a General Motors strike in 1936. Credit: The Detroit News
Labor

Unions Have Been Down Before, History Shows How They Can Come Back

Two ways we can honor unions at this time of trial are to ask others to join union picket lines and to learn from their innovations and successes for whatever campaigns we are committed to today. According to labor historian Sidney Fine, the union breakthrough in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, was “the most significant American labor conflict in the twentieth century.” In some ways the struggle was more strategically sophisticated than many campaigns are today, which is why it offers important lessons on tactics, racism, using the spectrum of allies and sequencing the focus of organizing.