Thursday, June 6, 2013

Flint Artifacts: UAW Ring

Flint Expatriate Joe Steve tells the story of a UAW ring:

"I had a great upbringing in our old neighborhood and looking back on it I really had it good. My father was a sports writer for the Flint Journal, John Steve, who died in 1962. My mother married John Misko in 1969 when I was 10 years old. We moved to John Misko's house on the south end because his house was smaller. It was also a really cool neighborhood as we lived 5 houses away from Lincoln Park. Mom couldn't get what she wanted for the house on Welch Blvd so after only 6 months we moved back to Welch and my stepfather had an offer on his house within four hours of listing it. I stayed there until I graduated from Powers in 1977 and my folks moved to Florida after I graduated from Aquinas College in 1981.

"My mother will be 95 years old this year. She gave me my stepfather's ring when she moved into a nursing home here in Grand Rapids 9 years ago. I have grown to understand what a great stepfather I had. He had no children of his own, as his first wife got sick and was not able to have children before she died. He worked 2nd shift at Fisher Body as a Tool and Die man for more than 30 years.

"And one more cool fact. My stepfather live next door to Angelo Braniff , one of the three Angelos who founded Angelo's Coney Island."


  1. As a current member of UAW Local 598 at Flint Assembly.. Thats awesome to see.

  2. I have my dad's UAW Charter Member ring (Local 599) and his 25 year watch. I'll have to dig them out & send Gordon the pictures.

    Side note: Dad was in the National Guard & was called up to duty during the sit down strike. Ha said he "guarded" the railroad tracks behind Chevy in the hole to make sure nobody snuck anything in or out of the plants, all the time with his UAW membership card in his pocket. Due to poor eyesight, he never saw anyone bringing food to the sit downers. :-)


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at