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He Fought For You & Me – Walter Reuther September 1, 2011

Posted by msbobbieg in Uncategorized.
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Walter Reuther

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This is a story I grew up knowing nothing about but now I know and for those of you who already know this amazing story I invite you to just remember and for those who never knew I invite you to take a seat and learn about the man who cared so much about you and me and what our day of Labor should be.  I give you Walter Reuther.

 

Strikes, Blows & the Working Man

The Walter Reuther Story

By: Bobbie Jones

 

            It’s almost seems like a life time ago doesn’t it?  Yes, it was a time long ago when another one of your fellow human beings looked out for your well being on the job.  Who was that person that cared so much about you and me – cared whether or not we left our jobs alive and in one piece?  That man’s name was Walter P. Reuther.

            If you think the fight for worker’s rights and dignity was an easy one, I invite you to read this.  Open your hearts and your minds and realize this – That when you are fighting for your fellow man, sometimes that fight becomes deadly.

            Walter Reuther almost lost his life in 1948.  On April 20th – a cool pre-spring evening at home with his family, the unthinkable happened.  A single shot gun blast came through his kitchen window and tore right through his right arm, shattering it into 150 bone fragments.  Buck shots also damaged his back and stomach in the attack.  (An alleged Detroit police cover-up ensued.)

Watch video of police working the CS after the attack ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMayuqfDpuI&feature=related)

When you are fighting for Human dignity, it is inevitable

that you will have enemies and sometimes your enemies

are those very people who are suppose to be upholding  

law and order.    

Walter Reuther to his young

   Daughter – Lisa

            At the time of this assassination attempt Mr. Reuther was not running from the law – he wasn’t some low life gangster or stick-up man.  No, but he was the most “Dangerous man in Detroit.”  Now, why was he labeled that you ask?  Because Reuther came to a conclusion a long time ago – “Workers have rights.” He said, and he decided he was going to fight for those rights no matter what it cost.  It almost cost him his life but that’s a price he was willing to pay.

You may know Walter Reuther as the father of the UAW (United Autoworker’s Union)

But to get to that title Reuther had to do some battling.

          In 1927 Reuther got his first job at the Ford Motor Company at the age of 19.  He did some fast talking to convince a guard to let him into the plant and that gave him a chance to prove himself as a tool and die man.

       Although Reuther rose through the ranks fast he did something to get himself fired in a hurry.  He campaigned for Norman Thomas, a Socialist for President.  How can that get you fired?  You have to remember it was the 1930’s – (American workers were not allowed to have a personal life.)

– What it was like to work at Fords in the 1920’s – Check out video

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtYRLtT8bvY)

          In 1936 He became the president of the newly expanded UAW Local 174 in Detroit.  He organized his first sit down strike along with his brothers at one of Fords wheel suppliers.  It only lasted 10 days but it got Ford to slow down the speed of the assembly line and it also boosted the membership of the UAW.  But soon Ford would bring out the big dogs to do major damage to Reuther and the UAW.

 

 

        May 26, 1937 while trying to pass out pamphlets to workers at the River Rough plant – Ford hired thugs to rough up any union organizers.  Known as the Battle of the Overpass, Reuther, his organizers, reporters and workers were beaten bloody and chased off by criminals on Ford’s pay roll.

 

Reuther along with his brothers Victor and Roy and his loving wife would go on to wage war on the Auto companies (The Big 3) Ford, Chrysler and GM would all eventually accept the fact that Union Life for their workers was the wave of the future and it was all because Walter Reuther refused to stop or give up his dream of – “Dignity, fair treatment and safe working conditions for the working man.”  Reuther, for all he could do at the moment forced companies to stop being seduced by the bottom line and turn some attention and care towards its workers – and for that I can’t help but be eternally grateful.

Reuter – during his fight for the American worker would take trips around the world, from Germany to London and India and he would meet the likes of influential people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi and he would study them and implement their tactics all while knowing that all of us deserved to be treated with dignity no matter what profession we pursued

Things Walter P. Reuther Fought For

  1.    A Fair Wage
  2.    Living Wage
  3.    Safe Working Conditions
  4.    Equal Treatment of Workers
  5.    Fair Treatment of Workers
  6.    Pensions and the Future of the Labor Market
  7.    Civil Rights & Equal Rights for all Workers

(He was also instrumental in the merging of the AFL-CIO – (American   Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizers)

I know some of you have this distorted image of the Unions and what they stand for – I have heard the conversations, and the remarks.  The unions only want your money, they are corrupt, they only want to line their own pockets and what a bunch of gangster and thugs (I think many of us remember Jimmy Hoffa – if not look him up.) that only protect alcoholics and drug addicts on the job.  Yes, I have heard them all and as a young girl I even participated in some of these conversations but don’t get it twisted.   –  Checkout RFK vs. Hoffa video below – 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNLYXSJjSJU

Don’t let your imagination become tainted because somewhere along the way someone decided to mangle Mr. Reuther’s dream, because now it’s up to you to keep his legacy pure – that is if you care about your fellow-man.

– On This Labor Day and many more to come we honor your memory –  Mr. Reuther and we Thank you for caring about us.

 – In all the years Mr. Reuther fought for us while being the (Father of the Labor Movement)  there were many attempts on his life and the lives of his brothers – but he managed to side step them all – tragically however, him and his wife both lost their lives in a plan crash on May 9, 1970 and the world truly grieved.

– Special thanks to Elizabeth Reuther for telling the very intimate details of her Father’s struggles in the Book we should all read – “Putting the World Together”   Also checkout a link provided by the Reuther Family (Sasha Reuther) –  www.brothersontheline.com

 

 

– Photos courtesy of Google Images on the Web

– Quotes and Research – “Putting the World Together” – Elizabeth Reuther D.

– Videos courtesy of YouTube

Copyright  Bobbie Jones  – September 2011

All Rights Reserved

 – Thank you to Sasha Reuther for giving his stamp of approval – please view the details of his new project at:  www.brothersontheline.com  A documentary detailing the history of the Reuther Brothers and their fight for you and me.

Thank you again to the Reuther Family

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What Giving it to ya !  Has to offer..

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