Are the Wisconsin protests becoming public employees’ equivalent of the Sit Down Strike in Flint, Michigan?
Speaking with Alison Cuddy, the host of 848, Professor Ashby said the Wisconsin protests may be seen as historically significant as the events at General Motors in 1936 and 1937.
It’s an interesting analogy, because the sit down strike resonates with labor historians as the moment that the fledgling United Automobile Workers took root at the Detroit car companies.
And, while Flint got the most attention for the sit down strike there, the protests actually spread from Atlanta to Kansas City and Cleveland, just as the protests in Wisconsin have resulted in others across the Great Lakes states.
In the same way that Flint helped the UAW, Professor Ashby argues that the protests in Madison have given public — and private sector — unions a rallying point. Whether they can lead to preserving or growing union membership remains to be seen, however.
Do you remember the sit down strike, or do you have relatives who took part? We’d love to hear your memories or any stories they’ve handed down.