Don't Sleep with Stevens!: The J. P. Stevens Campaign and by Timothy J. Minchin

By Timothy J. Minchin

In "Don't Sleep With Stevens!," Timothy Minchin explores a tremendous union crusade to prepare J. P. Stevens, a massive fabric enterprise that hired over 40,000 southern staff. among 1963 and 1980, cloth unions unique Stevens simply because they reasoned that in the event that they may perhaps manage this kind of huge corporation, it is going to open up the South to equipped exertions. Stevens, in spite of the fact that, vehemently resisted the organizing force, time and again breaking exertions legislation within the process. The high-profile conflict took on a symbolic value, specially after the union initiated a boycott of the company's items. introduced in 1976, the boycott secured nationwide press assurance and mobilized many supporters, together with political leaders, civil rights activists, feminists, scholars, and church teams. The crusade additionally encouraged the Oscar-winning movie Norma Rae (1979). Feeling the strain, in October 1980 managers ultimately agreed to a truce.
Despite the prominence of the Stevens crusade, this is often the 1st book-length account, and it attracts on a wealthy physique of underutilized archival material. Blending those files with oral histories and press money owed, Minchin highlights the real effect that the case had on American hard work kinfolk, particularly in encouraging different enterprises to repeat Stevens' strategies. For the 1st time, Minchin additionally explores the function that race performed in opting for the destiny of organizing efforts, exhibiting how tricky it used to be to construct grassroots interracial unions.
A vigorous and available account, “Don't Sleep with Stevens!” demanding situations triumphing conceptions in regards to the loss of activism within the Seventies. It additionally indicates how the company's strategies shifted over the years, as managers steadily turned much less reliant at the hard work legislations violations. Although the union finally gained a step forward, Minchin closes via detailing how the hot decline of the southern fabric has avoided organizers from capitalizing totally on it.

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Additional info for Don't Sleep with Stevens!: The J. P. Stevens Campaign and the Struggle to Organize the South, 1963-1980 (New Perspectives on the History of the South)

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The mills here were plastered with pictures of alleged bombings of cars and houses in Henderson,” reported organizer Joe Pedigo. But by the early 18 Chapter 1 1960s, with the Henderson dispute resolved, Chupka optimistically reasoned that the union would have a better chance. 30 Despite the committee’s recommendations, TWUA president William Pollock was initially reluctant to take on Stevens. “In developing the idea of a jointly financed southern textile organizing campaign with the IUD,” he wrote Chupka, “I had in mind Burlington.

P. ”35 Strategists overlooked evidence of Stevens’s vigorous opposition to organized labor, although it was clearly documented in their own files. ” Another report claimed that Stevens’s managers had a “bitter antiunion attitude” that had been illustrated well in the summer of 1951, when they had broken the strike at the Industrial Cotton Mills in Rock Hill. In the late 1950s the company had openly violated the National Labor Relations Act when its Roanoke Rapids workers had tried to organize. Passed in 1935, the NLRA had outlawed a wide range of “unfair labor practices,” including discharging workers because of their union activity, threatening to close a plant if workers voted for union representation, and refusing to bargain.

At a range of plants, both supervisors and loom fixers also reminded employees of the 1934 strike, stressing that the union had struggled to feed the strikers. ”41 The company linked unions with plant closures, particularly in the northern states. Again, workers were sent the message that the union threatened their economic security. At the start of every organizing drive, the company posted a notice that was drafted by Whiteford Blakeney, a notoriously antiunion attorney who was hired by Stevens to fight the campaign.

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