Last week, I had an interesting discussion with a Flint Expatriate who still works in the automotive industry. We talked about the reasons G.M. abandoned Flint, covering the list of the usual rationales, including cheaper labor elsewhere, etc. But he also mentioned a motive I've never really heard before — revenge. Specifically, revenge for the 1998 strike that started at the Metal Fab Center and spread to Delphi East. Before it was over, the strike lasted 54 days, cost G.M. $3 billion in lost profits and $12 billion in sales. It closed 27 of G.M.'s 29 assembly plants and over 100 parts plants in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. While both sides made concessions to reach a settlement, he said, G.M. never forgave Flint, and the corporation abandoned any hope of maintaining a large presence in the city where it was created.
Has anyone else ever heard this theory before? I'm just wondering how prevalent this idea is in the Flint area. Is this something people believe or talk about? I was not really writing or reporting about Flint in 1998, but I was surprised that I'd never heard it before. Wondering if it's just one person's conjecture.