Michael Leslie


[Excerpt] GM Hydra-matic is a dangerous plant. Formerly known as the "Willow Run (Michigan) Bomber Plant" because it produced B-24 bombers during World War II, the plant today builds transmissions for GM vehicles and overseas customers such as Bentley, Jaguar, Rolls Royce and Isuzu. In manufacturing transmissions, the plant uses thousands of coolants, lubricants, degreasers and solvents. Those chemicals, workers suspect, are the causes of GM Hydramatic's high rate of cancer, particularly brain cancer.

This is the story of how a group of workers represented by UAW Local 735 formed a union Cancer Watch Group (CWG) at GM Hydra-matic to address a problem that the company and outside researchers were not showing sufficient urgency about. It's a story of rank-and-file health-and-safety organizing that relies on the workers themselves to research the links between cancer and the substances they work with.