Sourced from Quartz
Written by Gwynn Guilford
When General Motors announced last month that it was shutting down small-car production and mothballing its Lordstown Assembly plant outside of Youngstown, in northeast Ohio, the news felt inevitable. While GM once built nine of every 20 new cars sold in America between 1950 and 1980, its market dominance has long since faded. Along with the other two of Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers, GM has been slashing shifts and shuttering factories for decades, gutting cities like Youngstown across America.
But nothing that led to the layoff of Lordstown’s 1,500 workers was inevitable—not GM’s failure, not the triumph of foreign small cars, and not even the withering of Detroit’s industrial might—provided you know where to look. Nearly a half-century ago, as the first gusts of global competition began buffeting the US economy, an iconic strike in Lordstown presented GM with an alternative path—and incited the rest of America to rethink our relationship to work.