General Motors Plant (01:56)
Workers assemble cars and receive notice of a union vote. (Credits)
Preparing for Negotiations (02:27)
Canada's auto workers send union representatives to negotiate GM contracts. Canadian UAW director Robert White confirms the strike deadline with UAW president Owen Bieber in Detroit.
Union Maverick (02:17)
White's relations with the UAW have become strained since becoming Canadian director in 1978; he is a hero among auto workers for refusing to make concessions.
Labor-Company Antagonism (02:21)
Oshawa GM foreman Fred Morris is in frequent confrontations with workers. Learn how the assembly line system plots employees against management.
Assembly Line Politics (03:04)
GM employee Danny files a union complaint for not being allowed a bathroom break. Workers show support, escalating the conflict with management.
Assembly Line Tension (02:01)
Labor-management conflicts have put the North American auto industry in crisis. In 1984, GM will try to convince workers their well-being depends on company competitiveness.
Conceding to Economic Pressure (01:51)
White attends a UAW meeting in Michigan. With jobs moving overseas, Bieber agrees to GM Chairman Roger Smith's profit-sharing scheme—ending hourly wage increases.
Difficult Decision (01:13)
Bieber has sacrificed hourly wage increases for job security in the U.S. Canadians auto workers are fully employed, but keeping wages will pit them against the UAW and GM.
Negotiations Begin (02:26)
White warns GM negotiator Rod Andrew not to bring the U.S. contract to UAW Canada. Andrew argues that company profitability is fragile.
Protecting Labor Rights (01:22)
Since 1936, the UAW has negotiated contracts and improved employment benefits. Oshawa assembly line workers resist a speed up.
Disappointing Offer (01:54)
A week before the strike deadline, Andrew shows GM's initial offer based on the U.S. contract to White. White announces the UAW's rejection to the press.
Resisting Concessions (03:33)
Canadian UAW representatives are under pressure to succeed in GM negotiations. Workers don't want to sacrifice wage increases for a profit sharing scheme because they don't trust the company.
Negotiation Deadlock (02:34)
Two days before strike deadline, GM hasn't changed its offer. Bieber pressures White to concede and threatens to revoke UAW strike benefits.
Wildcat Strike (03:28)
Andrew says a Canadian strike would affect the North American auto industry. White must contain an Oshawa work stoppage to retain control over negotiations.
Assembly Line Mutiny Threat (01:17)
Oshawa employees return to work, but the mood is tense. Repairman Al Westley complains to Morris of increased mistakes.
Losing Allies (02:49)
Bieber calls a UAW meeting to determine whether to revoke White's strike permit. No one defends White.
Final Offer (01:30)
Andrew tables GM's final contract before the strike deadline. The UAW committee rejects it unanimously and White tells them the U.S. may revoke their strike authorization.
Local Union Politics (02:49)
The Oshawa plant carries out a wildcat strike 16 hours early—jeopardizing negotiations. White tries to calm the UAW committee.
Strike Announcement (03:00)
As Oshawa workers strike early, Bieber authorizes White to strike. White conducts a press release about the Canadian UAW strike against GM.
Workers out of Control (01:33)
Striking Oshawa plant employees threaten to turn violent. Their UAW representative tries to get them to behave from Toronto.
Increasing Stakes (01:49)
As Canadian workers strike, Smith threatens to close GM plants. White refuses to back down.
Facing Reality (01:08)
GM is counting on Bieber to abort the UAW strike. White realizes he'll have to make peace with Bieber to win Canadian negotiations.
Symbolic Concession (01:58)
White wins Bieber's support to camouflage the worker's wage increase to appear to back down at negotiations—ensuring union solidarity.
Standing Strong (02:30)
Andrew finds White has full UAW support. White refuses a new offer; Bieber negotiates directly with GM representatives in Detroit.
Union Betrayal (01:30)
White asks the UAW committee to trust his leadership. Three days later, he learns Bieber is negotiating a U.S. version with GM—behind his back.
UAW Update (02:09)
Bieber informs White of his negotiations with GM. The contract includes lump sum bonuses, which White has vowed not to bring to Canada.
Union Double Crossing (01:55)
White goes behind Bieber's back to convince Andrew to keep hourly wage increases in Canada—by accepting less money. He hopes the UAW won't rebel.
Fight to the Finish (03:38)
Andrew offers White less money than GM had promised. White prepares for a strike without UAW support and the for possibility of GM moving work out of Canada.
Defending Canadian Labor (02:18)
White reports to the UAW committee that they'll fight GM to the finish. Workers prepare for a long strike that will cost the company millions in production.
GM Concedes (01:34)
Smith backs down on the strike's eighth day; Andrew agrees to a special Canadian hourly wage increase. White has to sell the contract to the UAW committee.
Internal Union Negotiations (06:22)
UAW committee members want a 3% wage increase per year; White tries to sell them a 2.25% increase—arguing they've won over GM on principle. Finally, they vote in White's favor.
Canadian Union Victory (00:53)
Andrew formally offers the UAW GM's adjusted contract.
Divided UAW (01:27)
White appeals to Oshawa workers to ratify the union deal with GM. His negotiations have upheld labor rights but split Canadian from U.S. union branches.
UAW Ratification (02:37)
Canadian workers agree to White's contract with GM; White informs Andrew the strike is over. Six weeks later, U.S. and Canadian unions begin the “divorce” process.
Credits: Final Offer (01:03)
Credits: Final Offer
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