National White Shirt Day
National White Shirt Day is a day that’s observed on February 11th each year. The purpose of this holiday was to commemorate the Flint sit-down strike and to honor the people who work and have worked in the automobile industry.
The strike forced the government to install better worker protections and eventually led to workers being able to legally organize and join a union. And because anyone who wants to celebrate this holiday only has to put on a white shirt, this holiday can be observed by just about anyone.
The History Of National White Shirt Day
The Flint, Michigan sit-down strike has often been called the strike that was heard all around the world. In the U.S in 1935, the average auto worker earned far less than what the Federal Government to be considered the minimum for a family of four to live on.
And working conditions in many auto plants were grueling and limited breaks to an unacceptable level. In other words, auto workers were underpaid and overworked and it seemed like things were only going to get worse. And it did in 1936.
In 1936, there were hundreds of deaths in auto plants all across Michigan that are believed to have been the result of brutal working conditions combined with a heatwave. This resulted in General Motors workers starting a sit-down strike on November 12, 1936, at Body Plant Number One in Flint, Michigan.
Soon, sit-down strikes spread to other GM plants and eventually, other automobile plants. On February 11, 1937, the strike was resolved and as a result, better pay and better conditions were given to auto workers.
Observing National White Shirt Day
Anyone wishing to celebrate this holiday can do so by first learning about the history of collective bargaining and the history of the Flint Michigan sit-down strikes. It’s also a good day for people in other industries about how they worked toward better pay and work conditions. While giving all of us these stories, don’t forget to use the hashtag #NationalWhiteShirtDay on your social media accounts.