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It happened on October 3rd: UAW goes on strike at Ford plants

On October 3rd, 1961, 120,000 workers at 88 Ford plants in 26 U.S. states (all members of the United Auto Workers) went on strike, following the example of GM workers a month earlier. The latter won substantial wage and benefit improvements, and Ford officials knew they had to provide a comparable package or risk losing their workers to the competition.

UAW and Ford representatives had come to an agreement on things like pay and pensions the night before the October 3rd strike deadline, with Ford agreeing to pay increases of 7 cents an hour (the average autoworker earned $2.85 an hour).

However, negotiators could not work out some non-economic issues such as production standards, the speed of moving assembly lines, and the number of Ford-paid union staffers in every plant.

A deal was struck on October 11th, but 25 local chapters of the UAW vowed to remain on strike until they could reach agreements regarding conditions and rules at individual plants.

By October 19th, only one Ford plant was still striking: a stamping plant in Walton Hills, Ohio, that made fenders and side panels for almost every car in the Ford lineup. A settlement occurred a day later, and work returned to normal.

FYI, Ford was the last of the Big Three automakers to recognize the UAW in 1941.