Today in labor history, May 26, 1937: Ford security attack union organizers and supporters attempting to distribute literature outside the plant in Dearborn, MI. They then tried to destroy the pictures photographers had taken that documented the attack, which became known as the “Battle of the Overpass.” The photos that survived inspired the Pulitzer committee to establish a prize for photography.
Today in labor history, March 7, 1932: Thousands of unemployed auto workers march to Ford’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn, MI, with a list of demands for relief. They were met by police and company guards armed with tear gas, water hoses, clubs, and guns. Four people were killed (a fifth person would later die of his wounds) and 60 more seriously injured. At the time, Ford did not contribute to any sort of unemployment fund for its workers. According to Henry Ford, speaking in 1931, “These are really good times, but only if you know it…. The average man won’t really do a day’s work unless he is caught and cannot get out of it.”