May 31, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1929 Ford signs deal with USSR

The Ford Motor Company signed a "Technical Assistance" contract to produce cars in the Soviet Union. Ford supplied many of the production parts for car manufacturers in the Soviet Union during the 1930s. Soviet factories also used Ford plants as their construction models. The agreement between Ford and the Soviet government also meant that Ford workers were sent to the Soviet Union to train the labor force in the use of its parts. Many laborers, including Walter Reuther, returned form the Soviet Union with a different view of the duties and privileges of the industrial laborer. Reuther, the UAW's president for many years, claimed to have been galvanized by the spirit of the Soviet workforce. It was over a decade, however, before labor unions won major victories in the U.S. Although the labor activists were for the most part not Communist, nor even Communist sympathizers, Ford officials nevertheless used this threat to keep them at bay for years. During McCarthyism, many of the labor officials who had been in the Soviet Union were cited as perpetrators of "un-American activities."

Posted by Quality Weenie at May 31, 2006 06:58 AM | TrackBack