Statement from UAW President Dennis Williams on White Shirt Day


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UAW President Dennis Williams at roundtable

It’s been 80 years since the Flint Sit-Downers’ victory. The Flint Sit-Down Strike was called the strike heard around the world because it was more than a strike. It started a mass movement for change in this country. 

What was at stake for them 80 years ago? Everything. The laws were stacked against them. They risked their lives to gain respect and dignity.

The success of the Flint Sit-Downers showed the country — and most importantly, it showed other workers that they deserved to have a seat at the bargaining table with the boss as EQUALS. There are many lessons to draw from the Flint Sit-Down Strike, but the biggest one is that worker solidarity is how we keep our seat at the bargaining table. It’s a lesson we should never take for granted or forget.

The UAW is a movement. Solidarity isn’t a slogan. It’s a way of life. If there was ever a time to channel the strength of the Flint Sit-Down Strikers’ character and their solidarity, it is now. We wear white shirts on Feb. 11, the anniversary of the day the strike ended, to send the message that we have the right to the same respect as those in management. But we don’t do it just for ourselves, we do it for all working men and women.

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