Coming soon: Made in Dagenham

Made in Dagenham posterChristmas came early (or in my case, Hanukkah came late) to the American Rights at Work staff this week. We got invited to a preview screening of “Made in Dagenham“, starring Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Richard Schiff.

“Made in Dagenham” is a dramatization of the 1968 Ford sewing machinists strike at the Ford Dagenham assembly plant in England, where women were classified as “unskilled” workers and paid considerably less than their male co-workers. They eventually brought Ford’s assembly line to a halt, walking out in protest against sexual discrimination and the unequal pay. Their actions were instrumental in England’s Equal Pay Act of 1970.

Spoiler alert!

While Sally Hawkins was fantastic as Rita O’Grady, the woman responsible for organizing the walkout (a character written for the movie, O’Grady is actually a composite of a few real women), the real star of “Made in Dagenham” is the labor movement.

In the film, a Ford supervisor’s wife makes the point that Ford is struggling with unions because they are not working with them. The film contrasted Ford’s actions with the positive labor-management partnership at General Motors. Management and labor worked together and thrived together, and strikes and unrest were much less frequent than at Ford plants.

Is “Made in Dagenham” an Oscar-worthy performance for unions? No, unions aren’t portrayed as perfect. It takes place in the 1960s, a time when the world was rapidly changing and people were learning to embrace equality. Just like Ford, unions had to find their footing with women in the workplace. And now, unions are a powerful force for women’s rights as workers’ rights and equal pay.

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 17th, 2010 at 6:30 pm and is filed under General, Labor Law Reform. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Coming soon: Made in Dagenham”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AmericanRightsAtWork, Briana Kerensky. Briana Kerensky said: New blog post! Check out our review of "Made in Dagenham" […]

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