Plenary: Brothers on the Line (Film screening and discussion)

Presented by Sasha Reuther

USA, 2012, 80 minutes, digital, Color and Black & White,

In Person: Director Sasha Reuther and special guests (guest appearances are subject to change)

As tenacious founder and popular leader of the United Auto Workers from 1946 to 1970, Walter Reuther was a key figure in the American labor and social movements of the day. With his brothers Roy and Victor, Reuther built a family dynasty that crusaded against communism and championed civil rights even as Reuther worked tirelessly to empower the American worker—virtually creating the middle class as it was known.

The struggle wasn’t without risks; two of the brothers survived assassination attempts. Victor’s grandson Sasha Reuther is a New York-based filmmaker who deftly balances familial bonds with documentary rigor. Martin Sheen’s narration lends the film gravitas and urgency. With UAW membership down to about 355,000 from its 1979 peak of 1.5 million workers and the 99 percent becoming vocal once again, Brothers on the Line is a story whose time has clearly come. —Eddie Cockrell