The Depression brought the greatest wave of strikes in United States history, not only because of the economic state, but also for the things workers have been fighting for in the past century, such as the right to be in a union or higher wages. A million and a half workers went on strikes in just 1934. However, the labor industry came out of the century well developed and more matured than ever before. Even during this economic crisis, improvements were created for the labor industry of the United States.

The sit-down strike was the most popular type of strike during the Depression. A sit-down strike was spontaneous, controlled mainly by the members of a work union instead of planned out by the leaders. Strikers would practically live in the workplace, making it obvious they were not working, and block strikebreakers and police from entering. It was invented by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which was a Communist union group whose members included skilled and semiskilled workers in the automobile, rubber, glass, and steel industries.

This was a barricade to the door of Fisher Body Plant #3, to stop strikebreakers from getting in.

In 1936, 48 took place, and in the following year there were 477. The longest sit-down strike happened in Flint, Michigan. It started in December of 1936 and lasted for a total of 40 days, in Fisher Body Plant #1, one of the General Auto plants. The workers’ aim was to get the common people and government to respect their union, the United Automobile Workers. 2,000 workers participated, all contributing to set up recreation, information and post offices to make the plant a temporary home. A court was set up inside the plant for the workers who did not contribute to the cause. The strikers lived a normal life, eating 3 square meals a day and taking classes in history of labor movements, public speaking and journalism from graduates of University of Michigan.

After seeing the example of Fisher Body Plant #1, other plants started a sit-down strike as well. because of this, 5,000 armed workers and police bearing tear gas attacked Plant #1, wounding only 13 strikers. The strikers easily drove out police, forcing the government to bring in the National Guard, which was not common in strikes. Not many Public responses to strikes, especially during the Depression, were usually negative; but public's response to this strike was actually quite peaceful. In February of 1937, the strike was solved simply with a 6 month contract, which dealt with the whole union instead of individual strikers. The whole experience of the Flint, Michigan strike was inspiring to many common people, giving union membership a boost. The way the government responded to this strike inspired many to join the United Automobile Workers union; union membership went up 7 million people during the 30s. Since it ended so peacefully, strikes seemed less dangerous, and if there was a need for one, more people would participate. This is the reason why strike occurrences sky rocketed after unions became popular. Our life today is affected by this aspect of the Great Depression; it is still a normal part of the labor industry to belong to a union.