General Motors; Shareholders Meeting.

1981-05-22

A woman in ethnic Polish dress stands next to a girl with a sign on her back which reads, "GM mark of destruction," outside a General Motors stockholders meeting in Detroit, Michigan. “The confrontation began shaping up last June, when GM announced the closing of two outmoded Detroit plants that employed 6,000 people, at the same time, however, the company declared its intention to build a modern factory within the city limits if a suitable site could be found, Mayor Coleman Young lost no tune in taking GM up on its offer. After examining a dozen possible sites, the city finally decided to offer GM a 465-acre tract that not only included the shuttered Dodge Main plant but also swallowed up the surrounding 250 acres of Poletown, GM insisted that the new plant had to be built and in operation by early 1983, so Young took advantage of a recent Michigan law allowing a city to acquire land for use by private enterprise, Detroit began a crash program of forcing home and business owners to sell their properties to the city … as the plan moved into high gear, so did the opponents, the Poletown Neighborhood Council, led by Chairman Tom Olechowski, 37, a state legislative aide and lifelong resident of the area, contacted [Ralph] Nader for his support, the consumer activist fired off a letter to General Motors Chairman Roger Smith, demanding that the company find another site "that does not destroy a community of 3,500 Americans” … but other residents contend that the plant is actually a godsend, for it gives them the chance to leave the aging community and still get a decent price for their homes, says John Kelmendi, 27, an area resident: "Ninety percent of the so called silent majority here want to go,"" from Times article, The Last Days of Poletown by James Kelly.


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