Local 598

Our History

Our Past Makes Our Future

1930's

Union organizers come to Flint, Michigan to organize the auto plants.

February 11, 1937 - The Great Sit Down Strike in Flint at the Fisher Body #1 and #2 plants ends with the first contract between General Motors and the UAW.

January 4, 1939 - Local 598, representing Fisher 2 workers, is granted its charter. Up until now, all plants in the Flint area have been represented by Local 156.

1940's

February 1, 1942 - Due to World War II, the Fisher 2 plant is temporarily shut down and the workers are transferred to other Flint area plants. A special arrangement is made with the International Union to keep our charter active as long as at least 12 members pay union dues. As the war continues, Local 598 is chosen to represent many of the small parts plants that have sprung up as a result of the war.

Early 1945 - The war ended and General Motors announces that it will build a new plant on Van Slyke Road that will house both Fisher Body 2 and Chevrolet Assembly facilities.

February 11, 1948 - As a result of a suggestion from Bert Christensen, a member of the Education Committee, Local 598 members begin what has become a UAW tradition, honoring those who sat down in 1936-37 (the Great Sit-Down strike) by wearing white shirts into work on the day that the first UAW-GM agreement was reached. Brother Chistensen felt that by wearing white shirts (traditionally worn by management) we would show that we were as good as white collar workers and also when management walked up and down the factory floor and saw everyone wearing white shirts , it would demonstrate the strength and unity of UAW workers, as well as the dignity of all UAW working men and women.

1950's

January 1950 - A one acre plot of land on Van Slyke Road is purchased for $750.00 so we can finally have a union hall of our own.

Summer 1954 - A second shift is added and many people are hired into the plant through 1955.

1960's

Sam Duncan was elected to his first full term as President (he would go on to serve eight consecutive terms.) The size of our membership passed the 2,000 mark for the first time ever.

November 1965 - A 30 day strike is called over job standards. The resulting time-study agreement marked the first time that both management and union used the time-study procedure to settle job disputes.

June 22, 1969 - Groundbreaking ceremonies were held and construction of a new union hall was begun. Shortly after that management informed our bargaining committee that it would no longer abide by the Job Standard or Comparison agreements (that we won in 1965) for the 1970 model year. A strike vote was taken and approved. As the strike deadline neared, no progress was reported in negotiation of over 1,200 Paragraph 78?s and over 500 penalties.

September 24, 1969 - At 4:45 p.m., 15 minutes after the second shift had begun, Local 598 Fisher Body workers took on GM in the longest strike by the UAW in GM history.

1970's

February 6, 1970 - After 136 days on strike, Fisher Body workers ratified a new agreement.

March 20, 1970 - GM announced that all Fisher Body 2 workers would be permanently laid off and that side of the plant would be turned over to Chevrolet for the building of light trucks. The future of our workers and our Local was uncertain, and it seemed like an obvious retaliation for the 1969 strike.

June 11, 1970 - The International Union announced that Local 598 would represent the workers at the Truck Plant and the seniority lists of the two plants (which had been represented by Local 659 and Local 598) would be merged as one.

June 24, 1970 - Fisher Body 2 goes out of existence.

March 1971 - Our new Union Hall is completed.

Late 1972 - Membership has grown to over 6,000.

1974 - Membership continues to grow - we now have over 7,000 members.

October 19, 1975 - The Union hall is officially paid off.

December 4, 1976 - One of the shortest strikes in GM history - lasting four hours, with a local agreement settled on December 5 after 43 hours of continuous bargaining.

1980's

April 20, 1981 - We were building Suburbans and Blazers on Line #2 and Pick-up trucks on Line #1 when the second shift on Line #1 was laid off, causing the loss of 1500 members who would remain laid off for three years.

July 1982 - U.S. Senator Don Riegle and U.S. Congressman Dale Kildee helped secure an order for 53,248 military vehicles to be built at our plant. More orders were eventually added .

September 19, 1982 - Local 598 joined Locals across the nation already on strike. The first Local Agreement in five years was negotiated.

January 15, 1983 - It was announced that sometime in 1987, production of the pick-up trucks on Line #1 will end. Local 598 members are offered an opportunity to follow their work to Pontiac, MI.

September 1983 -Ground breaking ceremonies were held at Union City Field - a new sports complex planned for Local 598 members.

February 1984 - Management announced the return of the second shift on Line #1, returning over 1400 workers.

May 1987 - Line #1 ceases production.

October 1988 - The first four day work week in the Flint area is negotiated for the new CC/CC (crew cab/chassis cab) truck line that will start in January, 1989 .

February 14, 1989 - Management announced that production of the Suburban and Blazer will be moved to Janesville ,WI and that a mystery product will be built at our plant.

October 13, 1989 - It was announced that production of all full size (G) vans will be moved to Flint, Assembly sometime in 1992.

1990's


July 1991 - Production of the CC/CC line ends.

August 31, 1991 - The last Suburban rolls off the line and a majority of Local 598 members are laid off as maintenance workers begin the job of retooling the plant.

August 10, 1992 - The first G-Van rolls off the line. All laid off workers are recalled.

December 1993 - An additional product , the 480 Truck will be built at Flint Assembly in the fall of 1994, but production of the full size vans will be moved to Wentzville, Missouri in 1996.

May 1994 - Three crew/two shifts, a negotiated innovative work agreement, has added over 1,000 workers from all over the country.

September 1994 - Production of the 480 truck is delayed as GM faces its first manpower shortage in recent memory.

January 1995 - The first new hires in over a decade are hired so production of the 480 can begin.

February 11, 1995 - Local 598 members honor the 1937 Sit-Downers on our annual White Shirt Day by wearing white shirts that will be given to each and every member yearly as part of a negotiated clothing allowance.

December 1995 - Production ends of the light duty G-Van, but production of the 480 truck is increased. Many of our newer members are transferred to other plants.

July 1996 - Over 1,000 members are laid off as production of the heavy duty G-Van leaves Flint Assembly. All laid off members are able to transfer to other GM plants in the area.

August 1996 - A new Local Agreement is reached that will bring a future to all Flint Assembly workers. Production of C/K 300 Series Regular Cab, Chassis Cab, and Extended Cab pickup trucks begins, replacing the G-Van.

January 1997 - In a spectacular announcement, GM tells workers that they have earned the right to build a variety of Commercial and C/K products that will keep this membership working well into the 21st Century. Production will begin as early as the 1999 model year and will return all of our laid off workers back home.

May 3, 1997 - Our Local agreement was signed. The first of its kind for Local 598, this 'living' agreement will secure the future for 598 members into the 21st Century.

October 1997 - Flint Truck Assembly added production of the 3500 HD Chassis Cab to its product lineup.

July 1998 - Production of the C/K Short Box Crew Cab model begins.

August 1998 - 3 Crew/2 Shift operation started in order to increase volume due to the addition of the Short Box Crew Cab.

2000's

Summer 2000 - Successful launch of 2001 Silverado/Sierra.

August 2000 - Production of the C/K GMT-800 begins.

January 2001 - Flint Truck Assembly wins Motor Trend Truck of the Year Award.

Summer 2002 - Starting with the 2003 Model year, Flint Assembly will produce the GMT-560 medium duty trucks.

2005 - J.D. Power Best in Segment - GMC Sierra Heavy Duty.

2006 - J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Award - Chevrolet Medium Duty.

February 2007 - Flint Assembly began production of the GMT-900 heavy duty trucks.

2007 - J.D. Power Best in Segment - Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty Classic.

          - Stopped Production of the GMT 560 medium duty trucks

2009 - Relocated some Light-Duty truck production from Mexico.

2010 - Flint Truck Assembly wins Motor Trend Truck of the Year Award.

August 2011 - 3rd shift is launched to keep up with demands.

December 2013 - Annoucement of 600 million investement in Flint Assembly.  Committment for New Paint Shop.

January 2014 -  Succesful Launch of the New 2015 HD Trucks.



>>> We need your help. We're looking for more detail on our Local's history. What are we missing? Please let us know and we'll verify then add the information. Thanks!!

 

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