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My friend, if we go in the ditch you ain't fuckin' around with Chrysler.
April 13, 2014 11:04 AM   Subscribe

In 1984, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers, represented by Bob White, and General Motors Canada, represented by Rod Andrew, sat down to negotiate a new wage agreement. GM had gotten the American UAW to agree to profit sharing and was dead-set on doing the same in the North; the Canadians were bitterly opposed to the idea. By the end of the negotiation, workers had struck, negotiators had been stabbed in the back, White and his allies had split from the UAW to form the CAW, and a compromise was reached that left everyone a bit unhappy - but the workers less so than their managers. Filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson used his unprecedented access to both teams of negotiators to craft Final Offer, "the best collective bargaining film ever made." You can stream the movie in its entirety at the National Film Board's website.
posted by Going To Maine (9 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great doc! Henry Ramer's masterful narration pushes it to 11.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 11:19 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I love this doc and have watched it several times and was thrilled when it showed up on the NFB site (whcih has many gems but I won't derail).

I highly recommend watching it, whether or not you have an interest in unionism, it is an absolutely gripping inside look at a pivotal moment in the Canadian labour movement.

I did not know the range of work by this director though! From docs like Final Offer and Air India to Degrassi episodes to nefoundland comedy Rare birds ... wow!
posted by chapps at 1:27 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


How did the Canadian GM workers fare compared to the US ones, following the split?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 4:50 PM on April 13


They came out way better on the split. It was an enormous victory. After... it's been all downhill since then. But that's a different story.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 6:03 PM on April 13


The decades-obsolete safety standards in the factory footage is a real trip. Smoking on the line? Where's everyone's PPE -- no bumpcaps (and you can see several people getting tapped in the head as the line equipment sneaks up on them), no hearing protection, guys going shirtless? On the plus side, I did notice some workers using reinforced sleeves and gloves in a few scenes, but nowadays you'd expect flame-retardant coveralls, safety shoes, and eye protection in addition to what I already mentioned. Ties aren't even allowed on the shop floor anymore.

Thanks for sharing; I'll have to forward the link to Dad.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:46 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


"...the best collective bargaining film ever made."

It's a crowded field, but someone had to come out on top.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:07 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Also on Youtube.
posted by Jahaza at 10:29 PM on April 13


thanks for posing this video, I'll have to watch it when i get home
posted by rebent at 7:02 AM on April 14


The decades-obsolete safety standards in the factory footage is a real trip. Smoking on the line?

Haha yep. I worked at the Ford Foundry in Windsor, ON as a student in the summer of 1984. An engine block foundry. Definitely one of your nastier auto plants all around. Smoking was allowed on the line, and a common prank was the regulars dropping lit cigarettes into the back pockets of the students' coveralls instead of putting them out on the floor. Yep, my ass IS burning and I guess that's where all the smoke is coming from. Also saw what would now likely result in arrest for sexual assault, a full timer rubbing his johnson around the mouth of a student who fell asleep in the heat when the line was down. There was a dive bar right outside the factory gate that lined up drafts by the score at lunch time. For the midnights guys there was a bootlegger a couple blocks away. Of course, all your common drugs of choice where offered for sale here and there.
posted by absentian at 10:27 AM on April 14


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