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Rise of Big Business and Organized Labor.-- Henry Ford & Walter Reuthe

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Henry Ford and Walter Reuther are two of the biggest names in the world of automobile industries and organized labor. They were both activists in their own way. Also, they were completely different from each other, one could even argue that they were opposites. Their ideas were contradicting, but still both of them had positive effects on society.

Henry Ford was a captain of industry. He owned Ford Motors, which was an automobile company. Ford was a man who always wanted his own way and he got it most of the time. The creation he is most famous for is the FORD MODEL T, the car for the commoners. His car became an instant hit amongst the people- the local people and the working class of people because it was very affordable and was not just for the rich. Ford was a very successful businessman but not particularly a nice guy. He expected a lot from his workers but thing is that he also cared for his workers, because he knew that not only were they dependent on him but also that he depended upon them, they were the ones due to which he was gaining popularity and success throughout America. Ford's great strength was the manufacturing process for his cars. Instead of having people put together the entire car he created organized teams that added parts to the Model T as it moved down the assembly line, this lowered the production prices and also the time and energy required to put together the cars.

Ford offered an incredible perk for people working in his company. He offered the workers $5 a day minimum wage even though in other auto industries the wages were $2.34. So Ford was paying more than double the average wage to his workers, this shows his dedication to his work. Henry Ford despised Labor Unions for the sole reason that they were pointless and that because he thought he knew how to take care of his workers better than anybody else did. However, in 1941 he faced a general strike from his workers that made him change his mind, reluctantly. Ford had worked a lot to create a car that would be affordable to any common person. He stated, " I will build a car for the great multitudeÐ' low in price that no one will be unable to own one."

Walter Reuther was a United Auto Workers (UAW) official. Reuther was one of labor's most dynamic and innovative leaders, as well as a humanitarian whose impact ranged well beyond his field. Reuther was a leader to the auto industry, he toiled for the workers and kept trying harder and harder each time to earn the workers more benefits. And year by year the UAW workers gained, amongst others, comprehensive health-care programs, tuition refund programs, life insurance and many more perks which workers today take for granted. But it was all the handiwork of Walter Reuther who strived hard so that the workers wouldn't be exploited.

Reuther's work didn't just stop at the collective bargaining line; instead he was also a social activist. He protested against the spoiling of the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie. He also became actively involved in developing low-cost housing units in Detroit's inner city; also he was advocating universal health care. Reuther also had worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. Walter Reuther was also know as the "White Martin Luther King Jr." For Reuther unionism was not just improving the work place but it was also



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