On the morning of November 17, 1936, several employees at the Bendix Product Corporation plant in South Bend sat down at their machines, attempting to gain bargaining power for a union. Despite being ordered to evacuate the plant, more than a thousand people refused to leave. So began the first sit-down strike in the history of the American automobile industry. For seven days, men and women camped out in the closed plant. Family members passed food and supplies through the windows. An agreement was finally reached on November 25, making this the longest strike in U.S. history up to that date. Unlike many later union efforts, the strike was concluded without police inference or violence, and it served as a successful model for other workers hoping to organize.
Bendix Sit-down Strike