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The Michigan Labor History Society invites you to a Labor History Bus Tour in conjunction with the MLHS annual meeting on Saturday, June 18, 2016.

The two-hour tour will visit several key places, including:

  • The site of the first auto strike in U.S. history
  • The downtown dime store where more than 100 young women sat down and refused to work for nearly a week in 1937 in order to win higher wages
  • The only church in America where Walter Reuther is memorialized in stained glass
  • The place where union musicians helped create the Motown sound
  • And many more labor history sites.

Trained guides will provide stories and information all along the tour route. The tour will end at the Labor Legacy Landmark and Underground Railroad Monument at Hart Plaza on Detroit’s riverfront.

The tour bus will depart promptly at 11 a.m. from UAW Local 22, 4300 Michigan Ave., Detroit, and will return by 1 p.m. It will be preceded by a tour orientation and MLHS annual meeting starting at 10 a.m. There is no charge for the tour, but voluntary donations will be accepted. Free parking is available at the UAW Local 22 hall (enter from the alley into the parking).

Because space is limited, advance reservations are necessary and must be made by June 11. To reserve seats, please call 313-882-2176, or send an e-mail with your name, phone number, e-mail address, and number of people in your group to michlabor@aol.com. You will be notified once your seat is confirmed.


The MotorCities National Heritage Area includes a photo and description of Transcending, the Michigan Labor Legacy Landmark at Hart Plaza in Detroit, in its 2016 "Find Your Road Trip" printed guide to auto history sites in Michigan. MCNHA is part of the National Park Service and encompasses 16 counties in Michigan that have sites important to the history of the automobile industry, including labor-related places.

You can see the "Find Your Road Trip" publication and learn about other aspects of auto history at the MCNHA website: www.motorcities.org

In recent weeks, all 29 bronze bas-reliefs at "Transcending" have been cleaned and waxed. Names of donors to the recent fundraising efforts for repair and rehab work at "Transcending" will be placed on the adjoining walls of honor this summer.


The Michigan Labor History Society will host the 2016 Labor Day Mobilization Luncheon on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at 11:30 a.m. at UAW Region 1-A, 9650 South Telegraph, Taylor. Tickets are $45 and include a one-year membership in the MLHS.

For ticket reservations, please contact UAW Region 1A, UAW Region 1, the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, or the MLHS office at 313-577-4003.

The annual Labor Day parade will kick off at Michigan and Trumbull on Labor Day, Monday, September 5th, at 9am


The Michigan Labor History Society continues to provide guided labor history bus or walking tours of the metro Detroit area. To date, nearly 1,000 people have taken these free tours.

Most recently, about 20 delegates to the state convention of the National Association of Letter Carriers, walked a two-mile route from their hotel to Grand Circus Park, where they learned about Mayor Hazen Pingree, the “idol of the people,” and the 1891 streetcar strike. From there, they walked south on Woodward Avenue to the former F.W. Woolworth five-and-dime store to hear about the historic occupation of the store by 108 young women workers in 1937. They also visited Cadillac Square, the Sojourner Truth monument, and ended their tour at the Labor Legacy Landmark and Underground Railroad monument at Hart Plaza, before adjourning to the Anchor Bar for more discussion and socializing.

Other groups that enjoyed tours have been international guests of the UAW constitutional convention, delegates to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom convention, retired members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, and officials of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union. Three teams of guides also gave tours to the NetrootsNation convention at Cobo Hall. On Sunday, Sept. 20, Michigan Economic Justice fellows will receive a tour of the Labor Legacy Landmark.

Volunteer guides or guest speakers included Mike Kerwin, Bill Connor, Dave Ivers, Dave Elsila, Ed Ptasznik, John Dick, John Rummel, Barbara Ingalls, and Shawn Ellis.

Mike Kerwin is developing material to help guides present in-depth explorations of labor history at the Transcending landmark for future tours.

Any MLHS member who would like to volunteer to be trained as a guide may contact the MLHS office at 313-577-4003 or write us at Michigan Labor History Society, 5401 Cass Ave., Detroit MI 48202.

And, remember, that unions, school groups, and other organizations are welcome to set up a tour with MLHS. There is no charge, and all that needs to be done by the sponsoring group is to arrange for a bus (unless the tour chosen is a walking tour). Just make your request by telephoning the MLHS office, 313-577-4003


The Michigan Labor History Society has developed a new, short skit about the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Woodrow Wilson, 100 years ago, which declared that “the labor of a human being is not a commodity or an article of commerce.”

MLHS is using the centenary of the Act to help educate workers about the promises in that law, and to encourage lawmakers to pass enforcement mechanisms to achieve its goals by creating a level playing field between labor and management. The skit is one tool in that effort.

Paul Felton, who wrote the skit, performed the skit along with Dave Ivers and Mike Kerwin at the general board meeting of the Michigan AFL-CIO in Lansing in September. Then, in October, Kerwin spoke about the importance of the Act at the North American Labor History Conference at Wayne State University, where an appreciative audience warmly received his talk.

At the same conference, MLHS member Dave Elsila chaired a workshop about the creation of a virtual tour of Southwest Detroit including major labor events. Panelists included tour coordinator Ron Alpern, Diane Feeley, Roberto Munoz, and Mitch Fleischer.

Last edited: Friday, May 6, 2016

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