Final Offer

Director: Sturla Gunnarsson
Screenwriters: Robert Collison

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


Canadian and American labor have historically had strong links, and in many instances. Canadian unions are simply locals of their American counterparts. Certainly, this was true of the automobile industry until 1984, when events depicted by this film forced a split between the two countries. Sturla Gunnarsson employs all the tools of the classic cinema-verite documentary to document this historic moment in Final Offer, and his work pays off handsomely.

Fortuitously deciding to focus on the United Auto Workers 1984 contract negotiations with General Motors, Gunnarsson found himself in the middle of history. Allowed access to behind-the=scenes negotiations, we are transported into the hardball politics played between an industrial giant and its workers. At stake is a basic difference of philosophy; confronted by the worst crisis in the auto industry’s recent history, GM has sacrificed automatic hourly wage increases for profit-shoring. The American UAW has recently accepted those terms, but the Canadian branch will have none of it.

What follows is a hypnotic look at the Canadian struggle to achieve their goals in the face of opposition from the company and the American branch of the union. It has the power of a drama. Standing firmly in the center of all this is the charismatic, iron-willed Bob White, head of the Canadian UAW.

— Piers Handling

Screening Details


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