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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

FISHER BODY DIVISION OF GENERAL MOTORS CORP. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The FISHER BODY DIVISION OF GENERAL MOTORS CORP. operated a Cleveland plant at E. 140th and Coit Rd. and a Euclid plant at 20001 Euclid Ave. The Coit Rd. facility was opened in June 1921 by the Detroit-based Fisher Body Co. to build bodies for the Cleveland Automobile Co. and the Chandler Motor Car Co. (see CHANDLER-CLEVELAND MOTORS CORP.) among others. The plant was enlarged soon after it opened, turning out 150 bodies a day in 1922; by 1924 the plant employed 7,000 workers, producing 600 bodies daily. When Fisher Body became a division of GM in 1926, it built bodies exclusively for GM cars. On 28 Dec. 1936, 300 workers at the Cleveland Fisher Body plant initiated a sit-down strike that quickly spread to the plant in Flint, MI; the strike continued until GM recognized the United Auto Workers as the bargaining agent for its employees in Feb. 1937. During WORLD WAR II, the Coit Rd. plant produced tank and gun parts and engine nacelles for B-29 airplanes. Its wartime employment of 14,000 had declined to 4,000 by 1946 and to 3,200 by 1971 when the plant produced large stamping dies and upholstery and trim sets. GM announced the closing of its Cleveland Fisher Body Division in 1982. The Coit Rd. facility closed the following year with 1,300 hourly and 400 salaried workers idled.

Aerial view of the Fisher Body Plant on Coit Rd., ca. 1949. WRHS.

Fisher Body's Euclid plant was built in 1943 by the Cleveland Pneumatic Aerol Co., 20001 Euclid, to produce aircraft landing gear parts during the war. Fisher body acquired it in 1947 to produce bodies for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. In 1970 production was moved to more modern plants in Michigan while the Euclid plant turned out interior trim and upholstery for automobile bodies. Its employment had declined from a peak of 2,958 in 1955 to 1,143 in Feb. 1982 when GM announced plans to close its Fisher Body Division. Concessions from the workers at the Euclid plant, however, enabled it to remain open. Renamed the Inland Division of General Motors, the trim plant continued to make seat covers, door panels, sun shades and other interior parts for Cadillacs, Buicks, and Pontiacs. Encouraged to solicit outside customers to augment its GM work, Inland received a contract from Sea Ray Boats to make boat seats and cushions in 1986. In 1991 GM again announced the closing of Inland to its 596 employees. This time, despite further concessions, the plant closing began in 1992 and was completed in the summer of 1993.

Wager, Richard. Golden Wheels (1975).

Fisher Body Division of General Motors Corp. Records, WRHS.

Last Modified: 30 Mar 1998 10:03:45 AM

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