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Wayne State University Oral History Course: Detroit Newspaper Strike Oral Histories

Identifier: WSOH002403

Scope and Content

Most of the interviews include a completed transcript, whereas the Arnold, Mleczko, Peralta, and Swickard transcripts contain only the first hour of interview audio transcribed. Elaine Jankowski Arnold was a Sterling Heights City Council member from 1993-1995. She was also the wife of one of the striking newspaper employees. Jankowski Arnold describes her experience as a witness to the strike, as well as the intimidation tactics she faced as a City Council member. Lou Mleczko became a journalist for the Detroit News in 1971. He became involved with the Detroit Newspaper Guild in 1974 and subsequently served various roles within the Guild. Mleczko and the Newspaper Guild led the opposition to the Joint Operating Agreement between the Detroit news and the Free Press, as well as being involved in later negotiations and the strike. Barbara Ingalls was a graphic designer at the Detroit News when the strike began. She was a member of the Detroit Typographical Union and affiliated with the Communication Workers of America. During the strike she traveled the country with the Road Warrior Program advocating for the strikers voices to be heard and negotiations to take place. W. Kim Heron was a Detroit Free Press copy editor when the strike began. During the strike, he helped produce, edit, and write the Detroit Sunday Journal which served as the newspaper created by striking employees in opposition to the News and Free Press. Esther Ingber worked part-time at the Detroit Free Press when the strike began and was a member of the Detroit Newspaper Guild. Ingber describes challenges faced by the strikers as they considered the choice to return to work or continue to fight for better terms. Joseph Swickard began work at the Detroit Free Press in 1979. He spent most of his years there as a crime reporter. Swickard was also a member of the Newspaper Guild Local #22. During the strike he served as a spokesperson for the Guild. He has since been inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton served as regional bishop and pastor of St. Leo's Parish in Detroit. He was a part of the non-violent protests during the strike and was arrested during a rally at the Detroit News Building in 1996. John Peralta was hired into the mailer department of the Detroit News in 1973. In 1978 he was elected to the executive board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 2040 and was elected vice president in 1991. Peralta was directly involved in contract negotiations and the newspaper strike that followed in 1995. He was still an active member of the IBT at the time of this interview. Larry Gabriel was an assistant features editor at the Detroit Free Press. During the strike he picketed with fellow newspaper employees and recounts his professional and personal journey during that time.


  • 2013


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research. An audio recording of four interviews (Arnold, Gabriel, Gumbleton, and Peralta) may be accessed on site at the Reuther Library.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Due to the personal nature of oral history, the Library prohibits use of the material in any way that infringes on individual right to privacy, or results in libelous statements or slander, in accordance with U.S. law. For the following interviews permission to publish or quote must be obtained from the interviewee or interviewee heirs or assigns: Elaine Jankowski Arnold, Lawrence Gabriel, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Esther Ingber, Lou Mleczko, John Peralta, and Joseph Swickard.


1.33 Gigabytes : Consists of 9 digital transcripts (9 PDFs) and 10 digital audio files (6 MP3s and 4 WAVs).


The Detroit Newspaper Strike started July 13, 1995 by the Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions and roughly 2,500 workers against the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. The Strike ended in February of 1997 with the legal resolution of the Strike occurring in 2000. This collection consists of interview transcripts for nine interviews and audio recordings for four interviews. Each interviewee is asked to speak on their experiences in and around the time of the Detroit Newspaper Strikes. Both strikers and community members who supported the strikers were interviewed for this collection.


Transcripts are arrranged in original order.


This material was donated to the Walter P. Reuther Library by the Wayne State University School of Information Sciences around 2013.

Related Materials

Action Coalition of Strikers Records, Detroit Newspaper Strike Collection, Ellen Creager Papers, Nancy E. Dunn Papers, Newspaper Guild Local 22: Detroit Records, Thomas Bernick Papers, Todd Winge Papers.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Ciera Casteel on January 16, 2019.


Guide to the Wayne State University Oral History Course: Detroit Newspaper Strike Oral Histories
Processed by Ciera Casteel.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA