On March 13, 1946, a strike at General Motors ended after 113 days. The strike of 320,000 workers, led by the United Auto Workers, took place in the months after the wartime labor “no strike” pledge ended, and workers were able to exercise their full labor rights once again. It began when GM offered a 10 percent wage increase, and the union countered with proposal to increase wages by 30 percent. It ended when the two sides agreed to a 16 percent raise, from $1.12 to $1.30 per hour. In today’s dollars, that would be a wage of about $16.19 an hour.
Good manufacturing wages helped build economic prosperity and financial security for working families in the middle of the 20th century, giving Michigan an economy and lifestyle envied across the nation and around the globe.