In the first documented book-length study of this violent confrontation, Sidney Fine portrays the dramatic events of the 1936-37 strike that catapulted the UAW into prominence and touched off a wave of sit-down strikes across the land. Basing his account on an impressive variety of manuscript sources, the author analyzes the strategy and tactics of GM and the UAW, describes the life of the workers in the occupied plants, and examines the troubled governmental and public reaction to the alleged breakdown of law and order in the strikes. In addition, Dr. Fine provides vivid portraits of Governor Frank Murphy and the major figures on both sides of the conflict: Alfred Sloan, Jr., William Knudson, Robert Travis, Roy Victor, and Walter Reuther, Homer Martin, and Wyndham Mortimer. Of particular interest today are the author's concluding remarks regarding the similarities between the sit-down strike movement of the 1930's and the civil rights movement and the college sit-ins of our own era.
The GM sit-down strike marks the close of one era of labor-management relations in the United States and the beginning of another. Professor Fine has provided us with the definitive account of that momentous conflict.