• Oshawa Workers! Your Living Standards Are Being Cut From Under Your Feet. Leaflet calling for a mass meeting on Monday, March 4, 1929 under the auspices of the Oshawa Local of the Auto Workers’ Industrial Union of Canada. The keynote speaker was A. R. Mosher, President of the All-Canadian Congress of Labor and the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees.
  • To Unite … Regardless. 1943 publication of the UAW Education Department showing the union’s commitment to education members about the importance of fighting racism, and how that commitment had been key to winning the strike to unionize Ford in 1941. Features a photo of Paul Robeson adressing a Ford organizing rally and a reproduction of the 1943 “Cadillac Charter” against racial discrimination.
  • The Bosses’ Boy: A Documentary Record of Walter P. Reuther. This pamphlet was put out by opponents of Walter Reuther leading up to the 1947 UAW Convention and the election of the UAW International President and Executive Board. Reuther’s opponents attacked Reuther for his redbaiting, coziness with management, and a hypocritical approach to fighting racism. 


A selection of short videos and “snapshots of struggle” highlighting important events in labour history from my YouTube page.

Ford Hunger March – March 7, 1932

On March 7, 1932 5,000 protesters demanding jobs and relief marched to the gates of the Ford Rouge complex, and were met with teargas and guns. Five workers were killed. The first part of this video shows scenes from the march itself, the coffins of some of the workers who died, and the massive funeral procession down Woodward Avenue. This event helped prepare the way for the later victories by the UAW in organizing the auto industry.

At about 1:05 there is a moving music video featuring a song by Steve Jones from his work, Forgotten: The Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant A Jazz Opera. Vocalist Lynn Marie Smith.

This video was created by Glen Richards, Indignant Eye Productions, using video and photos from the Walter P. Reuther Archives. 4:47 minutes

The Great Flint Sit Down Strike – December 30, 1936 to February 11, 1937

Highlights of the key events of the history-making sit down strike that forced GM to recognize the UAW and opened the floodgates of industrial organizing by the CIO.

Video editing by Glen Richards, Indignant Eye Productions using footage from “Sit Down and Fight” – Charlotte Zwerin, 1992. 4:31 minutes

The Flying Squadron – UAW 1930s

The flying squadron, or flying squad, was a tactic developed by unions in the 1930s. The flying squad was a group of militant striking workers with automobiles who could be rapidly deployed during a strike to picket where needed.

Video editing by Glen Richards, Indignant Eye Productions using footage from a 1939 UAW film, “United Action Means Victory”, about the 1939 skilled trades strike against General Motors. 2:34 minutes

Organizing Ford, Fighting Racism – 1941

Sit down strikes at GM and Chrysler were successful in establishing union recognition for the UAW in 1937. However Ford successfully held the union off for several years, which jeopardized union survival in the auto industry. The key to unionizing Ford was uniting Black and white workers, and that could only be accomplished if the UAW demonstrated a commitment to fighting racism in their actions, not just their words. This video, part of the 1992 UAW film “Sit Down and Fight”, by Charlotte Zwerin, shows scenes from the 1941 strike at Ford’s Rouge complex that employed 90,000 workers – 12,000 of them Black workers.

Ford and Harry Bennett tried to destroy the strike by fomenting violence between Black and white workers – and failed. The UAW succeeded in building support in the plant and in the community with a significant Black organizing committee and support from Black leaders like Paul Robeson.

The 1943 UAW Education Department pamphlet, “To Unite … Regardless” has a fuller account.

Video editing by Glen Richards, Indignant Eye Productions using footage from the 1992 UAW film “Sit Down and Fight” by Charlotte Zwerin. 3:07 minutes

The United Aircraft Strike – 1974-1975

The United Aircraft strike fought for union security and against the lower wages and benefits imposed by the American company on Quebecois workers. The strikers battled for 20 months against the use of scabs, and eventually some workers occupied the plant and were beaten and arrested by police. The strike was a major factor in the election of Rene Levesque and the Parti Quebecois in 1976, and PQ legislation that guaranteed union security and banned the use of strikebreakers – legislation that is still in place today.

Video by Glen Richards (Indignant Eye Productions). It features an interview with Bob Dean, the Quebec Director of the union at the time of the strike and later a PQ Minister of Labour. Script by Tony Leah. 11:59 minutes

The 1996 GM Strike and Occupation

In 1996 negotiations General Motors refused to match the pattern language negotiated at Chrysler that protected workers from outsourcing and contracting out. When GM workers struck, GM tried to break the strike by applying for an injunction to remove 75 key dies and moulds that they needed to keep production going in the US. The response was a well-prepared occupation of the plant where the dies were operation, leading to capitulation by GM.

Video editing by Glen Richards, Indignant Eye Productions using footage from “Fighting Back Makes a Difference” CAW 1997. 5:21 minutes


Unions and the Fight Against Racism

Presentation to the Unifor United Workers of Diversity leadership group, 2013. PowerPoint.

What Abella Got Wrong

Presentation to the 2024 Conference of the Canadian Association for Labour Studies/Association canadienne d’études du travail at du syndicalisme (CAWLS/ACETS), at UQAM, June 19, 2024.

Dissertations, Theses