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Henry Ford: Revolutionizing the Auto Industry/Industrial Leadership, 1928

Union Relations

Ford's strong opinions on benevolent labor relations—he increased his workers' minimum wage from $2.83 per 9-hour day to $5.00 per 8-hour day in 1914 while establishing some living style requirements of decency—did not extend to acceptance of the 1935 Wagner Act establishing trade union rights. He refused to join Chrysler and General Motors in their post-strike agreements with the United Automobile Workers Union (UAW), instead using company enforcers and spies to discourage unionization in his plant. The 1937 "Battle of the Overpass" in which the enforcers attacked and severely injured canvassing union representatives marked a historic moment in labor history. Ford was censured by the National Labor Relations Board despite their denials. In 1941, Ford Motor Company finalized a contract with the UAW.

In 1943, Edsel Ford died of cancer at the age of 49 and his father resumed total control of the company. He died four years later of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 83.