Chrysler Sabotage

Party Time!


Fifth Estate # 299, October 22, 1979

It’s a rare case when someone can go home from the job and say they’ve done a constructive day’s work, and an even rarer case when 4,000 people from the same place can say it at the same time.

But that was exactly the case September 21, when the Chrysler Corporation was forced to close its Lynch Road Plant in Detroit because of worker sabotage and vandalism.

The ailing Chrysler was planning a two week shutdown on September 21, after stockpiling a massive inventory of new cars. This act was the justification for keeping the plant closed until October 8, when it was to re-open with only one shift and half of the 4,000 workers being put on indefinite layoff.

But the workers beat them to the punch; it seems they decided if they were going to go, they might as well go with a bang!

Starting on September 20, and carrying on until the first shift the next day, workers took part in such creative acts of destruction as ripping the vinyl tops of the new products, scratching paint, breaking windows, tearing out dashboard wiring and starting small fires throughout the plant. As one company observer candidly put it, “There was a general loosening of discipline.”

One worker reported that firecrackers were going off and that “there was a lot of partying going on; people just weren’t doing the job.”

In Detroit, we spell relief: SABOTAGE.