By Timothy J. Minchin
The increase in criteria of residing in the course of the U. S. within the wake of global warfare II introduced major alterations to the lives of southern fabric staff. Mill staff' wages rose, their buying strength grew, and their fiscal expectancies increased—with little support from the unions. Timothy Minchin argues that the explanations in the back of the failure of fabric unions within the postwar South lie now not in stereotypical assumptions of mill staff' passivity or anti-union hostility yet in those large-scale social changes.Minchin addresses the demanding situations confronted through the TWUA—competition from nonunion generators that matched or passed union wages, fees of racism and radicalism in the union, and clash among its northern and southern branches—and focuses specifically at the devastating normal strike of 1951.Drawing widely on oral histories and archival documents, he provides a detailed examine southern cloth groups in the context of the bigger heritage of southern exertions, linking occasions within the fabric to the wider social and financial effect of worldwide conflict II on American society.
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Additional info for What do we need a union for?: the TWUA in the South, 1945-1955
Despite integration, in 1947 no single textile company was able to sell more than 3 percent of the total capacity of the textile industry. " Integration was only sustainable in specialized mills, such as shirts, sheets, and towels, in which style was not a big factor. Large mills working outside these markets continued to emphasize their vulnerability to smaller operators. 9 Page 10 The severe depression that hit the textile industry when the postwar boom ended confirmed the fact that the industry had changed very little from its prewar patterns of behavior.
The drive produced only one union contract in North Carolina, one in South Carolina, and nine over the Piedmont as a whole, bringing no more than a further 2 percent of active spindles under union contract. 23 The TWOC drive affected the future prospects of southern organizing in a number of ways, however. 24 The TWUA's president, Emil Rieve, and vice president, George Baldanzi, both came to prominence during the TWOC campaign. They were heads of independent federations that made up the UTW; Rieve came from the hosiery federation and Baldanzi from the dyers.
The size of the strike made it a catastrophic defeat that cast its shadow over future organizing attempts. 22 Moreover, the themes that the strike highlightedthe role of protection from the federal government and the relief issuewere to remain of central importance in determining the success of organizing the southern textile industry in the postwar years. Page 14 Following the 1934 strike, the biggest effort to organize the textile industry was the drive of the Textile Workers Organizing Committee (TWOC) between 1937 and 1939.