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Lansing in Ingham County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Lansing Labor Holiday

 
 
Lansing Labor Holiday Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Rieske, June 5, 2017
1. Lansing Labor Holiday Marker
Inscription.
Side A
As the labor movement spread across Michigan in the 1930s, workers in Lansing organized. After a successful strike at REO Motor Car Company ended in April 1937, the Amalgamated United Auto Workers Local 182 began recruiting new members from small auto shops, including Capital City Wrecking Company, which refused to negotiate a contract. Workers went on strike. The company got an injunction against picketing, but unionists ignored it. Around 2 a.m. on June 7, 1937, Sheriff Alan MacDonald ordered his deputies to arrest the picketers while he went to arrest labor leader Lester Washburn. He was not home, so MacDonald arrested his wife, Nevah. In response to the arrests, the union called for a Labor Holiday, or general strike, of the entire City of Lansing.

Side B
On June 7, 1937, between 2,000 and 5,000 union members and supporters arrived in downtown Lansing. They nonviolently forced shops, theatres, factories and offices to close, resulting in a virtual shutdown of the entire city. Union members marched to City Hall and the Capitol asking for the release of the arrested picketers and Nevah Washburn. Mayor Max A. Templeton said there was nothing he could do, but Governor Frank Murphy met with officials involved in the arrests. Shortly thereafter the arrestees were released. The next day Capital City
Lansing Labor Holiday Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Rieske, June 5, 2017
2. Lansing Labor Holiday Marker
Wrecking Company agreed to contract negotiations with its workers. Labor historians later described the holiday as a rarity, one of the few successful non-violent general strikes of the early twentieth century labor movement.
 
Erected 2017 by Michigan Historical Commission. (Marker Number 745C.)
 
Location. 42° 44.022′ N, 84° 33.206′ W. Marker is in Lansing, Michigan, in Ingham County. Marker is at the intersection of W. Michigan Avenue and Capitol Avenue, on the right when traveling west on W. Michigan Avenue. Touch for map. Located in the Lansing City Hall Plaza, visible from both Michigan and Capitol Avenues. Marker is at or near this postal address: 124 W. Michigan Avenue, Lansing MI 48933, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Michigan State Capitol / Michigan's Three Capitols (within shouting distance of this marker); Michigan (within shouting distance of this marker); First Regiment Michigan Engineers (within shouting distance of this marker); Austin Blair (within shouting distance of this marker); Michigan State Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Herbert Henry Dow 1866-1930 (within shouting distance of this marker); Freedom Patriotism Humanity (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Michigan Sharpshooters (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lansing.
 
Regarding Lansing Labor Holiday. The MotorCities Automobile National Heritage Area also has a marker regarding this event, located on the north side of E. Michigan Avenue, between Grand Ave. and the Grand River.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceLabor UnionsNotable Events
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 14, 2017. This page originally submitted on June 6, 2017, by Bill Rieske of Lansing, Michigan. This page has been viewed 102 times since then. Last updated on June 12, 2017, by Bill Rieske of Dimondale, Michigan. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 6, 2017, by Bill Rieske of Lansing, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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