Ford signs first contract with autoworkers’ union - Jun 20, 1941 - HISTORY.com

After a long and bitter struggle on the part of Henry Ford against cooperation with organized labor unions, Ford Motor Company signs its first contract with the United Automobile Workers of America and Congress of Industrial Organizations (UAW-CIO) on this day in 1941.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s allies in Congress passed the landmark National Labor Relations Act–also known as the Wagner Act, after one of its authors, Senator Robert Wagner of New York–which established workers’ rights to collective bargaining and attempted to regulate unfair practices by employers, employees and unions. By 1937, after successful sit-down strikes (during which the workers remained inside the factory so that strikebreakers were unable to enter) both General Motors and Chrysler had made deals with the fledgling UAW, and Ford was the lone holdout against the unionization of the auto industry.