March 14, 2024

UAW Region 8 Ask Members To Join in the Effort to Remember

“Rosie the Riveter”

By UAW Region 8 Webmaster John Davis

On March 21 labor will celebrate “Rosie the Riveter” day in honor of the women who supported the home front effort during World War II. During the great war, many of the men who worked in the factories were called away to fight. It was the women streamed into the factories to take their place, building guns, tanks, planes, ships, submarines and trucks to supply the arsenal of democracy. Region 8 is asking our members to help celebrate “Rosie the Riveter” day by dressing as Rosie on March 21.

The Arsenal of Democracy was a wartime decree from President Frankling Roosevelt, challenging United States Manufactures to step up and build the things needed to defend democracy at home and abroad. It was actually UAW President Walter Reuther who planted the idea in President Roosevelt’s mind just prior to the United States entering the war. Reuther told Roosevelt he needed a plan to use the current manufacturing facilities the US had to build the tools to fight the war. Roosevelt asked Reuther to comprise a strategy that would include current factories which could be easily converted from consumer goods to war time supplies. Reuther looked at the vast array of plants the UAW currently represented, and outlined ones that could be converted to build things for the military. Ford plants in Alexandra, Virginia, Atlanta, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina and Louisville, Kentucky and many others were converted to build planes, jeeps and other war time vehicles.

During World War II, famous American artist Norman Rockwell was commissioned to do paintings encouraging Americans to support the war effort. While his “Rosie the Riveter” is not the first rendition, it became the most famous. His painting was featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May of 1943. However, the first know version was by Pittsburg Artist J. Howard Miller for a poster for the Westinghouse Corporation under the heading ‘We Can Do It.”

During the war years the number of females in the workforce grew from 27% to 37%. Before World War II, females made up just 1% of the employees in the aircraft industry, but by 1943 65% of the workers building planes in the United States were female. “Rosie the Riveter’s contribution to the war effort was instrumental in our ability to fight the fascist across Europe, England, Africa and Asia.

It is important that we remember this contribution, particularly during Women’s History month. In Region 8, we had many factories churning out items to support the war effort. Between 1941 and 1945, American workers – many of which were female, turned out 96,000 bombers, 86,000 tanks, 2.4 million trucks and 6.5 million rifles for the war effort.

To honor those workers, we are asking our membership that can to dress as “Rosie the Riveter” on Thursday, March 21, 2024. As an extra request, please send photos of you dressed as Rosie along with your name and local number to UAW Region 8 Webmaster John Davis at or UAW Region 8 Assistant Director George Palmer at We will post as many of these as we can on the Region 8 website, facebook and other social media. Please do remember to include your name and local number. If you had rather keep it local, post your photos on your personal social media and local union websites and social media feeds.

May we all take the time next Thursday, March 21, 2024 to remember and honor the memory of those brave women who entered the workplace to build the Arsenal of Democracy and preserve our democratic way of life.




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