National White Shirt Day:
The National White Shirt Day, sometimes also referred to as the National White T-shirt Day, is celebrated every year on the 11th of February to commemorate the day in history when an auto worker strike was finally resolved.
Related: Other National Days Celebrated on February 11th:
Why National White Shirt Day?
When many of us think about National White Shirt day, the idea that comes to mind is about the workforce and how often we need to keep those shirts clean and tidy at various jobs. But the actual perspective behind this celebration is completely different. The White Shirt Day or the White T-shirt day is to honor the men and women in the automobile industry. Like many historic strikes that created an impact on our daily lifestyle, so is this one. People who sat down against the unfair treatment of the workers fought for the development of insurance, payrolls, and health and safety regulations are needed to be remembered and appreciated since, without them, these things wouldn’t have been possible.
How can we observe National White Shirt Day:
All of us need to learn about these historical events that made such great impacts on the livelihoods of so many people.
- You can commemorate this day by reading about skilled labor in the United States.
- You can also share the experience of someone you know who participated in this strike on social media using #NationalWhiteShirtDay. This would help educate a few more people about such a historical event and its significance.
Interesting Facts on National White Shirt Day:
Here are some interesting facts for you to know about this historic event:
- White Shirt Day is inspired by the idea that those people who are revolting had their shirts kept as clean as their bosses.
- This movement helped inspire the protections of the automobile workers and helped them from various powerful unions that we have today.
- The people in this revolt fought to develop insurance, payroll, and health and safety regulations.
- Many of the conditions at that time were horrible for the workers, often resulting in their deaths. The strike was conducted to revolt against the harsh conditions.
History of the National White Shirt Day:
This day is very significant from a historical point of view. During the early part of the 20th Century, manufacturing provided a large part of our workforce. At the time of the Great Depression, during the 1930s, a number of union groups began to pop up to protect the workers from unfair treatment. The United Automobile Workers Union had formed at that time and existed since the year 1935, which helped bring out the automobile workers together. The United Automobile Workers or the UAW was kept in secret because it was a dangerous time, as General Motors, one of the very significantly successful companies at that time, had almost complete control over the politics of the Flint, Michigan region, and they maintained spies in order to keep their workers in check. The UAW organized a rally at Cleveland’s Fisher Body plant where the workers revolted by staying inside the plant but not work. On February 11th, 1937, the two-month sit-in finally came to a close. For the first time in history, General Motors agreed to the terms of the workers and recognized them as the official bargaining representatives of all GM employees, and agreed to increase their pay scale and allow the lunch breaks for their workers.
This also resulted in a massive explosion of the union membership from just 30,000 people to 500,000 members in the following year.
Bent Christenson, who was a member of the UAW, is the initiator of this day. The author specifically chose this date as it marked the date in the year 1937 when the sit-in of the workers finally came to an end. The day is created in order to celebrate the struggles and achievements of the people who came forward bravely to fight for dignity, fairness, and respect in the workplace.
As a form of remembrance, everyone wears a white shirt or a blouse to symbolize the swedge and procurement from such an event. This event helped create a better workplace environment at that time and even today and for the future to come.