Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class
GRAND RAPIDS April 2, 2015– Brothers On The Line is an award-winning documentary film exploring the extraordinary journey of the Reuther brothers – Walter, Roy, and Victor – three union organizers whose unshakable devotion to social justice led an army of United Auto Workers into an historic struggle against corporate greed.
UAW Local 1485 retirees and members are sponsoring three free public screenings of Brothers on the Line at the Kent-Ionia Labor Center this month. Anyone interested in seeing how one of Michigan’s most powerful and iconic labor unions built its power from the ground up is encouraged to attend.
At the height of the Great Depression, the Reuthers were among a small band of trade unionists that took a stand against oppressive working conditions in the auto factories of Detroit and Flint. Their bold work stoppages and coordinated sit-down strikes, facing intimidation and physical violence at the hand of company thugs, shattered a status quo of greed and discrimination.
The rise of the United Auto Workers and their hard-fought collective bargaining agreements resulted in unprecedented quality-of-life gains, increased safety regulations, a voice on the job, and overall contributed to lifting millions of workers to a middle-class living.
As UAW President for nearly three decades, Walter was a skilled negotiator and orator, with his brothers as advisors on community, legislative, and international affairs. The Kennedy and Johnson administrations frequently sought their counsel, and the union’s resources supported Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the burgeoning civil rights movement.
On the opposite side of this impassioned battle, a devious web of adversaries – corrupt company officials, organized crime, and conservative lawmakers – were threatened by the ambitious Reuther brothers and were determined to silence them. Assassination attempts shook the family to its core. With increasing power and influence on the national stage, the incendiary trio faced heart-wrenching consequences at the crossroads of their political loyalty and militant rank-and-file roots.
Directed by Victor Reuther’s grandson, Sasha, and narrated by Martin Sheen, Brothers On The Line is a stirring personal story of determination, sacrifice, triumph, and tragedy. The odyssey of the Reuther brothers is a microcosm of the American experience that resonates far beyond their era, from the automaker bailout and Detroit bankruptcy to debates over national healthcare, efforts to rebuild the middle-class, and the Occupy movement.
WHAT: Three free screenings of the documentary Brothers on the Line, a documentary by Sasha Reuther, presented by UAW Local 1485 retirees and general membership (1 hour, 20 minutes)
WHERE: Kent-Ionia Labor Center, 918 Benjamin NE, Grand Rapids MAP
WHEN: Three dates:
WHO: Open to the public
COST: Free admission, $1 popcorn and $1 pop
MORE INFO: Call John Marcusse (UAW 1485), 616-363-2836; visit the Brothers on the Line website.