University of Michigan-Flint Library
Genesee Historical Collections Center
|Name of the collection:
||1980-2011 [bulk 1981-1987]|
||2 linear feet|
|Acquisition:||This collection was donated to the Genesee Historical Collections Center by donor no. 272 in February 2005. Additions were made in September 2011.|
|Access:||There are no restrictions on access to this collection.|
|Photographs:||155 positive prints are kept in the photograph boxes and will be cataloged separately.|
|Processed by:||Paul Gifford, April 2005
Marshall (Mike) Westfall was a third-generation autoworker and labor activist. He worked for General Motors Flint Truck and Bus Group from 1964 to 1994.
In the 1970s, he began to write, speak out, and conduct rallies on corporate restructuring and its impact on workers and communities. He developed autoworker teams that participated in television and radio programs in Flint and elsewhere. Westfall’s groups demonstrated at various events, including General Motors’ annual stockholders meetings in Detroit. By 1981 he was chairman of United Autoworkers Local 598 25 and Out (later C.E.R.P.) Committee (the acronym stood for C.O.L.A. for retirees; Earlier Retirement; Paid personal holidays). Westfall argued that the improvement of these benefits would soften the impending job cuts resulting from corporate restructuring, because older worker retirements were a major way to save many low-seniority workers from losing their jobs. Many national leaders worked closely with Westfall’s groups, including Ralph Nader, who began writing about his Flint work in the 1970s. Westfall invited Nader to Flint and assisted him with his book The Big Boys.
In the mid-1980s, Westfall was elected chairman of the union caucus in power at Flint Truck and Bus Assembly. He served as consultant on regional and national television programs. He served on the Board of Directors of Flint’s New Work Center, which dealt with job loss, and was involved as an advisor or as a subject in several labor films. He was on the advisory board for a film project called the “New World of Work,” sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.
In 1987, he organized and sponsored the Flint Anti-Concession / 50th Anniversary of the UAW Rally, which brought Victor Reuther as keynote speaker.
Between 1988 and 1990, General Motors and the International UAW enlisted Westfall to write a pilot retirement program to be used to counter job loss resulting from restructuring. It was negotiated in the 1990 national agreement and became the blueprint early retirement program used for all domestic automotive manufacturers, as well as many other industries. It saved numerous lower-seniority workers who were slotted by elimination as a result of corporate restructuring.
Since retirement, Westfall has lived in northern Michigan. He has remained active in various projects and has become an independent writer on these and other issues. He was also become the editor of the “Westfall Papers” (http://michaelwestfall.trip.com/), an online site that addresses worker and conservative issues. His work continues to be covered in books, educational materials, magazines, and film
Scope and Content
This collection consists of papers generated by Marshall (Mike) Westfall's activity in the United Autoworkers and in other venues. It includes his regular columns in union and general newspapers, speeches, committee newsletters, as well as files on specific events, such as rallies. The primary topic of some of the material is "C.E.R.P.," the benefits package proposed by Westfall as a response to employment losses caused by corporate restructuring. The files on C.E.R.P. consist primarily of newsletters and newspaper columns.
Included in this collection are Westfall’s articles discussing corporate demands to eliminate worker and retiree protections, corporate demands for tax breaks at the expense of schools and communities, apartheid, and many other labor and community issues. Other files concern particular events, such as rallies in Flint, Detroit and elsewhere. There are formal proposals for contract negotiations with General Motors concerning healthcare and overtime and early retirement. Included are also a number of files concerning film projects, including one by Michael Moore, which developed into "Roger and Me." The collection also includes a number of photographs, largely of committee meetings, conventions, and picket lines. The eighteen cassettes of audio recordings are mostly of television and radio interviews, largely on the same issues, with Westfall and other members of his committee, as well as the proceedings of the 1987 Flint rally and other events.
Finally, there are articles from his website and various online magazines from 2007 to 2011, which are about foreign sourcing, foreign worker exploitation, industrial pollution, and criticism of UAW leaders.
Newspaper articles written by Westfall, 1981-1986
Newspaper articles about us, 1981-1987
C.E.R.P. (Cost of living for retirees; Early Retirement; more Personal Paid holidays)
Technology newsletters, 1981-1982
Public Awareness newsletters, 1982-1984
"25 and Out" columns, 1981
Technology conferences, 1981-1984
"Worker in Crisis" papers, 1985-1986
Notes and miscellaneous, 1980-1987
Property tax assessments reduction, 1985
General Motors Corporation stockholders confrontation letters, 1985-1988
Autoworkers Against Concessions, 1987
Pension C.O.L.A. program, 1989
Detroit "Fink" rally, 1990
National health care proposal, 1990
Overtime/early out proposal, n.d.
Early out contract program proposal, 1990
Television and films
Technivision, Inc. "The World of Work" (television program), 1982
"C.E.R.P., War of Survival" (film), 1982
New Work Center, 1985
Film proposals, 1983, 1988
Films and picture, 1985
Michael Moore, 1990
Future directions, 1983
Westfall Papers website, 2005
Online articles by Mike Westfall, 2005-2008
Online articles about Mike Westfall, 1981-2007
Online articles by Mike Westfall, 2007-2011
Cassette tape recordings
1. Mike Westfall/ Ralph Nader backyard Flint rally on GM property tax reduction, July 28, 1985.
2. Westfall/Nader rally, continued; Meeting at University of Michigan-Flint over GM tax reduction, October 10, 1985; various Westfall interviews.
3. Workers Against Concessions rally, Flint, April 5, 1987 (audio from film), with speeches by Mike Westfall, Don Douglas, Dave Barber, Tom Gilbert, Rosemary, Holland, and Victor Reuther.
4. Workers Against Concessions rally, Flint, April 5, 1987 (continued), with speeches by Victor Reuther, Jerry Tucker, Mike Westfall (questions and answers, conclusion).
5. Westfall press release, UAW Local 598; WJRT-TV (Channel 12) special, Norma Hall interviewing Mike Westfall and Whitey Hale; special report, Jan. 30, 1983, with Mike Westfall and John Robbins; "Newswatch" (WEYI-TV, Channel 25), "Open Camera," Mar. 12, 1983; WNEM-TV (Channel 5), with Tom Inon, Mike Westfall; various interviews.
6. Various UAW interviews, 1983-1985; "Open Camera," WNEM-TV, May 16, 1985, with Westfall Committee; Interview with Jim Musselman (Nader staff); "Newsmaker," WJRT (Channel 12), Feb. 2, 1986, with Westfall Committee.
7. "Newsmaker," WJRT-TV, May 17, 1987, with Westfall Awareness Committee; June 16, 1987, with Westfall Committee; "Community Concerns," WEYI-TV, with Mike Westfall and Whitey Hale, President, UAW Local 326.
8. C.E.R.P.; audio from C.E.R.P. movie produced by Mel Serow.
9. News, clips, interviews with Westfall, 1981-1982; "Newsmaker," WJRT-TV, with Ellen Welker; Erik Green, WEYI-TV, Feb. 27, 1982; John Robbins, WJRT-TV, interview with Westfall at home on blackmail contract, Apr. 9, 1982; various news clips, interviews, etc.
10. "Dave Barber Show," WEYI-TV, with Mike Westfall, June 20, 1985; "Newsmaker," with Norma Hall, WJRT-TV, interview with Mike Westfall and Jim Musselman.
11. UAW Region 1-C Technology Conference, Oct. 13, 1981, with Mike Westfall, Harley Shaiken (MIT), Bob King, vice-president, UAW; Reuben Burks, treasurer, UAW.
12. UAW Region 1-C Technology Conference, Oct. 13, 1981, with Harley Shaiken (questions and answers); Mike Westfall; Reuben Burks, treasurer, UAW International union.
13. UAW Region 1-C Technology Conference, Oct. 13, 1981, with Bob King, vice-president, UAW; Carol Haddad, Michigan State University; questions.
14. "Talk to Me," David Newman, WXYZ radio, Detroit, interview with Mike Westfall; television excerpts, 1981; audio of "C.E.R.P.: War of Survival" (film); Westfall union speech, 1981.
15. WTAC radio, Flint, interview program, Apr. 2, 1987; GM stockholders' meeting, May 22, 1987 (poor quality).
16. WNEM-TV, Westfall interview, 1984, Tom Inon; "Radio Nightline," Flint, May 20, 1987, with Tom Gilbert, Rosemary Holland (Westfall Awareness Committee); Perry Wright radio show, Flint, May 1987, interview with Terry Ford, Mike McNamara (Westfall Awareness Committee).
17. "Morning Magazine, Dave Barber, WTAC, interview with Mike Westfall, Mar. 30, 1987; "Nightline," WTRX, Steve Clawson, Victor Reuther, Mike Westfall, Apr. 1, 1987.
18. WFBE, Feb. 22, 1982, Gary Horn, Mike Westfall debate with GM official; Tom Inon, WNEM-TV, ca. 1985 (poor quality).
19. Perry Wright Show, "Nightline," WTRX, with Mike Westfall and Ralph Nader, over GM tax fight, July 3, 1985; "Nightline," WTRX, interview with Mike Westfall, Jim Musselman, over GM taxes, Oct. 9, 1985.