are the Oldest Local in the UAW!
In the early spring of 1935, the first organizing meeting of the American
Federation of Labor Federal Union (as they were called then), that
eventually became Local 140, was held in the Odd Fellows Hall on Bethune
Street in Detroit. About 125 people attended representing Chrysler’s
Dodge Truck, Detroit Forge and Amplex plants.
After the meeting, 40 of those in attendance came to the front of the
room, plunked down a dollar and defied the anti-union spies who were
present to put them on the company’s blacklist and Local 140 was born.
Many people believe that local union numbers are issued in chronological
order. Local “140” was created by adding the number “1,” representing
the one dollar membership fee, to the number “40,” representing the
original 40 members who signed up to be union on that day in 1935.
The birthplace of the UAW is South Bend, Indiana and that’s where in 1935
between 200-300 charters, all dated the same, were issued for existing
local unions. Charters are the legal documents, which establish the
existence and framework for local unions.
the charters arrived one day late. When they finally were delivered,
only two local unions in the Detroit area were holding meetings. They
were Local 2 representing workers at the Murray Body plant and Local
140, an amalgamated local. As a result, these were the first two locals
to receive official UAW recognition.
Many of us at Local 140 did not realize that ours is one of the oldest
locals in the UAW. Consequently, by the fact that Local 2 is no longer
in existence, Local 140 becomes the oldest chartered local in the UAW.