February 11: End of the Flint Sit-Down Strike, Dick Cheney Hunting Accident, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on February 11 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1937 - End of the Flint sit-down strike
The 1936–1937 Flint sit-down strike against General Motors changed the United Automobile Workers (UAW) from a collection of isolated locals on the fringes of the industry into a major labor union and led to the unionization of the domestic automobile industry.
The strike was a major problem for the company and they tried to end it as soon as possible. GM obtained an injunction against the strike on February 1, 1937, but the union not only ignored the order, but spread the strike to Chevrolet Plant #4. To avoid tipping its hand, the union let it be known in the hours before the move that it intended to go after another plant in the complex, only changing directions at the last minute. GM, tipped off by an informant within the UAW, was ready and waiting for the union at the other plant and caught then completely off guard at Plant #4. The strike ended after 44 days.
The development forced GM to bargain with the union. John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers and founder and leader of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, spoke for the UAW in the negotiations; UAW President Homer Martin was sent on a speaking tour to keep him out of the way. GM's representatives refused to be in the same room as the UAW's, so Governor Frank Murphy acted as courier and intermediary between the two groups. Governor Murphy sent in the U.S. National Guard, not to evict the strikers, but rather to protect them from the police and corporate strike-breakers. The two parties finally reached an agreement on February 11, 1937 with a one-page document that recognized the UAW as the exclusive bargaining representative for GM's employees who were members of the union for the next six months.
1971 – The History of Diplomacy: Seabed Arms Control Treaty is signed
Today’s date marks an important page in the history of diplomacy. The Seabed Arms Control Treaty (or Seabed Treaty, formally the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil thereof) was a multilateral agreement between the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and 91 other countries banning the placement of nuclear weapons or "weapons of mass destruction" on the ocean floor beyond a 12-mile coastal zone.
It allows signatories to observe all seabed "activities" of any other signatory beyond the 12-mile zone to ensure compliance. Like the Antarctic Treaty, the Outer Space Treaty, and the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone treaties, the Seabed Arms Control Treaty sought to prevent the introduction of international conflict and nuclear weapons into an area hitherto free of them. Reaching agreement on the seabed, however, involved problems not met in framing the other two agreements.
2006 - Dick Cheney hunting accident
On February 11, 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, with a shotgun while on a quail hunt on a ranch in Riviera, Texas. Both Cheney and Whittington called the incident an accident.
It was reported to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on February 12, 2006, by ranch owner Katherine Armstrong. The Bush administration disclosed the shooting incident to the public the afternoon of February 12. Local authorities released a report on the shooting on February 16, 2006, and witness statements on February 22.
On February 14, 2006, Whittington suffered a non-fatal heart attack and atrial fibrillation due to at least one lead-shot pellet lodged in or near his heart. He also had a collapsed lung. Cheney did not speak publicly about the incident until February 15 in an interview with Fox News. Early reports indicated that Cheney and Whittington were friends and that the injuries were minor. Whittington later clarified that he and Cheney were not close friends but acquaintances. This story still generates a number of conspiracy theories, since it doesn’t seem like we know everything about it.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on February 11, at least in our view.