"Roger and Me" Individual Project


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This project is a report on the documentary "Roger and Me" by Michael Moore. The main focus is on the impact of GM factories closure on the life of people and the city of Flint, Michigan as a whole. Project includes information on how unions were formed and operated; bargaining process and power; strikes that took place during that time.

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"Roger and Me" Individual Project

  1. 1. Mariya KolechynaDecember 14th, 2011
  2. 2. “ROGER AND ME” Mariya Kolechyna December 14th, 2011
  3. 3. is a feature-lengthdocumentary film chronicling the efforts ofthe worlds largest corporation, GeneralMotors, as it turns its hometown of Flint,Michigan, into a ghost town. In his quest todiscover why GM would want to do such athing, filmmaker Michael Moore, a Flintnative, attempts to meet the chairman, RogerSmith, and invite him out for a few beers up inFlint to "talk things over". In between his effortsto see Smith, Moore, the son of a Flintautoworker, takes us on a bizarre journeythrough Flint.
  4. 4. people standing in line at one location to collect federal surplus cheese and butter;• Large sections of the city filled with abandoned homes and boarded up stores, looking more like a war zone than an American town; people who have lost their homes and their life savings and have packed up and headed south in search of work;• The social cost of 25% unemployment: record rates of suicide, spousal abuse, alcoholism, and, surpassing Miami and Detroit as the city with the highest rate of violent crime.
  5. 5. • 50% of Flints GM workforce will have been abolished by 1989, an event of unprecedented proportion in American history.• Yet, since 1983, car sales have steadily risen and GM has posted record profits of nearly $19 billion!• Moore points out that he and his friends were raised on the American Dream which promised that if you worked hard and the company prospered, you would too. Now, it seems, .
  6. 6. .During the Great Depression, unemployment was high. Many employers tried to get as much work as possible from their employees for the lowest possible wage. Workers were upset with:1. The speedup of assembly lines2. Working conditions3. The lack of job security Seeking strength in unity, they formed unions.
  7. 7. Automobile workers organized the in 1935GM would not recognize the U.A.W. as theworkers bargaining representative.
  8. 8. Hearing rumors that G.M. was moving work tofactories where the union was not as strong, workersin Flint began a sit-down strike on December 30, 1936.The sit-down was an effective way to strike. Whenworkers walked off the job and picketed a plant,management could bring in new workers to breakthe strike. If the workers stayed in the plant,management could not replace them with otherworkers.
  9. 9. At 8 p.m. on December 30, 1936, in one of the first sit-down strikes in the United States, autoworkers occupythe General Motors Fisher Body Plant Number One inFlint, Michigan.The autoworkers were striking to win: Recognition of the United Auto Workers (UAW) asthe only bargaining agent for GMs workers;Wanted to make the company stop sending workto non-union plants;To establish a fair minimum wage scale, agrievance system and a set of procedures that wouldhelp protect assembly-line workers from injury.
  10. 10. On the night of December 30, the majority of employees whohad been working their shift at Fisher 1 and Fisher 2 left theplants. Some left only to celebrate the New Year andreturned later. Others took up picket and food-gatheringactivities on the outside. The lives of those who remained onthe inside for the duration quickly fell into a disciplined andorganized pattern. Committees for such things as cleaningup, exercise, security, entertainment, and defense werequickly assembled, and the property of the company wasstrictly kept from harm. This discipline and organization wasmaintained through the insistence of strike leaders Bob Travisand Roy Reuther, both of whom were already veterans of thisnew way of striking.
  11. 11. Realizing that it could capitalize on its victory over GM, the UAW setout to boost its membership in the aftermath of the sit-down strike. The union: Increased staff, Lowered initiation fees, Stepped up recruitment efforts all with remarkable results.With only 88,000 dues-paying members at the settlement of the Flintstrike in February 1937, the organization grew close to 400,000members by October of that year, making it one of the largestlabor organizations in the country. While historians often credit theWagner Act for increasing UAW membership, the Flint sit-down strikeclearly played a critical role as well.
  12. 12.  As one Fisher One employee noted, worker moralehad greatly improved as a result of the strike: "The inhuman high speed is no more. We now have avoice, and have slowed up the speed of the line. And[we] are now treated as human beings, and not part ofthe machinery. . . . It clearly proves that united westand, divided or alone we fall“. The Flint strike boosted union membership not only inautomobile manufacturing, but in other mass-production industries as well.
  13. 13.  The Flint strike also dramatically increased the popularity of the sit-down strike as a bargaining tool among union organizers and disgruntled workers. Only 48 of the 2,712 strikes in 1936 were sit-down strikes, compared to 477 of 4,740 strikes the following year.
  14. 14.  Amazing movie – necessary to watch! Ugly truth of the corporate world – FOR PROFIT! Ideas:a. Government of Flint – why make the whole city dependant on one company?b. GM – could have provided families that worked for them for their whole lives with training, recruitment sessions, resume writing skills - anything that would help them survive that rapid change. Labor and unions proved themselves heroes once again by setting an example of how to fight for their rights. US Government – provide assistance in resolving this issue – helping GM generate the same amount of money they would save going overseas at home.