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Control of the Sit-Down Strike

March 26, 1937

Report Outline
Naional Labour Crisis and Chrysler Strike
Origin End Technique of the Sit-Down Strike
Advantages for Labor in Sit-Down Strategy
Legal Aspects and Legislative Remedies

Naional Labour Crisis and Chrysler Strike

Evaluation of the Chrysler plants at Detroit on March 25 by the 6,000 sit-downers who had held them in defiance of a court eviction order eased an extremely tense strike situation on the eve of a White House conference between President Roosevelt and congressional leaders, called in response to insistent demands for clarification of the administration's position with respect to labor's widespread use of a new and potentially dangerous form of the strike weapon. Restoration of the property to the company was obtained only upon the agreement of Walter P. Chrysler, chairman of the Chrysler Corporation, in conference with John L, Lewis, chairman of the Committee for Industrial Organization, that no attempt would be made to operate the plants and that no machinery would be moved out of them for operation elsewhere pending conclusion of negotiations for settlement of the current dispute.

The Chrysler strike continues, but it continues, not as a sit-down, but as a traditional walkout strike, with the workers' position reinforced by the company's pledge not to attempt introduction of strikebreakers or take other action that the strikers could have prevented so long as they held the plants. While the strikers thus retain the tactical advantages gained by use of the sit-down, respect for law and order is restored.

During recent days, as the wave of sit-down strikes mounted in Detroit and other cities, Governor Murphy of Michigan in successive public statements laid increasing emphasis upon the necessity of obedience to duly constituted authority if democratic processes were to survive. Just before announcement of the agreement for evacuation of the Chrysler plants, it became known that the Governor, long reluctant to take the risks of forcible eviction, was ready to move troops into Detroit if the conference between Chrysler and Lewis was unsuccessful.

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