Flint Buick dealer saves UAW hall, but story won't make the movies
Edward Lapham is executive editor of Automotive News.
Flint, once the proud home of Buick, has had a tough time. Most of what America knows about Flint comes from Michael Moore's bitter movie Roger and Me.
That's too bad.
Yes, Flint, like many other industrial communities, is in recovery mode, trying to reinvent itself with varying degrees of success.
There are still GM operations in Flint, but they're a shadow of what they once were. Kettering University, which evolved from General Motors Institute, is still educating engineers and entrepreneurs in Flint.
And there is still a sense of community.
Last week a local dealership, Patsy Lou Buick-GMC, gave a helping hand to UAW Local 599. The dealership bought the local's historic union hall, which had been scheduled to be sold at auction along with a number of historic items.
In the glory days of Flint, 599 was one of the UAW's biggest, most powerful locals. But membership has dwindled to the point where the local didn't need, and probably couldn't afford, the big old building. It was going to sell the building and move in with another local.
But thanks to dealer Patsy Lou Williamson and her husband, former Flint mayor Don Williamson, that won't need to happen.
Local 599 will stay in the historic building so members and retirees will be able to use it.
No one is likely to make a movie about how a Buick dealership saved a union hall. But it makes a difference in Flint.
You can reach Edward Lapham at email@example.com.