UAW 848 Innovated During 1984-85 Contract Fight

After 1982, when President Reagan deliberately union-busted the PATCO union, labor leaders realized that they needed some new approaches. Strikers had to face not only vicious corporations, but the government as well. 

The giant LTV Aerospace Company attempted to force UAW 848 in Grand Prairie out on strike in March of 1984. Instead, the union members continued to go to work. The only difference was that they would "work to rule" and do exactly what their jobs required without adding any extra help or good will toward management.

On May 23, 1984, five union supporters were fired for "refusing to work overtime." I was one of them. We formed a support committee and continued to work for a contract. Soon, LTV fired many more for participating in a short walkout. The firee support group, eventually with 65 members, carried out pickets, rallies, fund raisers, and oddball events throughout the struggle. We also eventually took over a great deal of the paperwork at the local. We were present and outspoken at every meeting; consequently, we had a good role in helping guide the process.

Inside the plant, activists took up dues, held lunchtime rallies, distributed literature, wore buttons, and generally gave management heck. One mysterious group made their own signs and buttons saying "F-Troop." Nobody knew what it meant, but it seemed to reflect the employees' attitude toward management.

Union activists formed their own solidarity groups and made their own signs

The fight continued for 15 awful months. I was fired for 1 year, 1 month, 1 week, and 1 day. But we WON!

Local 848 held a ratification meeting on July 1, 1985, and the members gratefully accepted a contract with hardly any of the takeaways imposed by the company during the struggle. Afterward, I wrote a short history and, eventually, posted it on line at http://lilleskole.us/11hourstrike.htm.

In Novermber of 2017, I was able to post 52 videos taken from old VHS video tapes that were shot during the period. They are on the "genelantz" YouTube channel and are all named "struggle...". In "Struggle18," shot during the struggle, International Rep Roy Kinney explained the strategy. It is at https://youtu.be/e4Dt_BiCMcQ