The Sordid History of Employer Opposition to Unions

Date: October 28, 2014

Join us on October 28, 2014 for a special presentation of Bob Morris’s new book Built in Detroit, in which he chronicles the formation of the United Auto Workers (UAW) in Detroit, Michigan, and the challenges the workers faced from both management and the mob. Morris will be joined by former Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard, and EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey.

As workers in the home care and fast food industries protest against their low wages and express their desire to form unions, it is important to remember that well over half of workers would join a union if able to do so. As EPI has documented, many companies in the private sector engage in harsh tactics to prevent workers from organizing. Most commonly, these tactics threaten to reduce or eliminate employment and earnings as a means to stifle workers’ organizing desires. During the rise of the labor movement in the last century, employers also engaged in harsh tactics. But in addition to the above, some employers hired “muscle” to intimidate, assault and even murder labor advocates.

In a unique look at that period, Bob Morris tells the story of the formation of the UAW, with his labor leader father, Ken Morris, and Walter and Victor Reuther serving as chief protagonists. In his suspenseful and engaging narrative, Morris sheds light on a poorly understood period of American labor history.

What’s more, by detailing how the UAW overcame the violent opposition to unionization, Morris inspires hope that the will of workers who want to organize can again be realized.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. ET

1333 H St. NW

Suite 300, East Tower

Washington, DC 20005


This event is free to the public. Paperback and hardcover editions of the book will be available for purchase and signing.