The success of the Oshawa General Motors (GM) strike in 1937 is recognized as a significant victory for the labour movement. Against the opposition of Ontario Premier Mitchell Hepburn and his supporters ("the sons of Mitches"), GM workers were granted not only higher wages and better working conditions but, more significantly, the right to form unions. Establishing such a right was important since few, including Hepburn, realized how difficult, or tedious, life "on the line" could be, and that conditions needed to be improved.

Machines alone do not give us mass production. Mass production is achieved by both machines AND men. And while we have gone a long way toward perfecting our mechanical operations, we have not successfully written into our equations whatever complex factors represent Man, the human element.

Henry Ford II

Ford Motor Company 1930
THE FOREMAN: "I like the moving line because you know where your people are. The first thing I do when I come into a department is to try to do away with sub-assembly operations. I don't like them at all. The line here, the moving line, controls the man, and his speed. Then no matter how slow a man is, he has to keep moving. We're all human, we like to go as slow as we can unless we are pushed, and this line controls him perfectly."

Excerpt of quote and recording taken from: The Foreman on the Assembly Line, Charles R. Walker, Robert Guest and Arthur Turner (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956).

Listen to the sentiments of the worker faced with 10,000 bolts.

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