On this day in 1968 the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM), which consisted of black auto workers, went on a wildcat strike to protest working conditions at Dodge’s Hamtramck assembly plant. A wildcat strike is one that is supported or endorsed by the leadership of the Union of which the workers are members of, in this case the United Auto Workers. At the time of the strike it was estimated that 70 percent of the workers at the plant were black, yet it was exceedingly rare for black men or women to rise to any sort of management position or higher within the auto industry. The strike was in large part a civil rights movement. The strike was observed by some 4,000 workers, lasted 2.5 days and prevented the production of 3,000 cars. The “Revolutionary Union Movement” form of organization spread from DRUM to other Detroit plants: FRUM (Ford Revolutionary Union Movement) started at the Ford River Rouge Plant, and ELRUM (Eldon Avenue Revolutionary Union Movement) beganat the Chrysler Eldon Avenue plant. These organizations were brought together in the League of Revolutionary Black Workers which formed in June 1969.
Photo: The Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement led a wildcat strike of 3,000 workers that lasted three days in 1968.