Episode 658: Strike One : Planet Money Strikes these days are pretty boring. But they weren't always like this. In the past, strikers risked their lives. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
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Episode 658: Strike One

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Episode 658: Strike One

Episode 658: Strike One

Episode 658: Strike One

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/762039538/762105496" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Flint sit-down strikers sitting down. Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University. hide caption

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Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University.

Flint sit-down strikers sitting down.

Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University.

This episode originally ran in 2015.

In the 1930s, some automobile workers decided to shut down the biggest carmaker in the world and go on strike. They seized a few key General Motors factories in Flint, Michigan and kicked everybody else out.

In the few weeks that followed, those workers revolutionized strikes and introduced the world to unions as we know them today.

Here's the story of how they took the factories, how they kept them, and how they made it out of the strike alive, with the help of an enlightened governor and, uh, a giant sling shots.

Music: "Big Band Showtime."

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