Like Night and Day: Unionization in a Southern Mill Town / Edition 1

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Daniel Clark demonstrates the dramatic impact unionization made on the lives of textile workers in Henderson, North Carolina, in the decade after World War II. Focusing on the Harriet and Henderson Cotton Mills, he shows that workers valued the Textile Workers Union of America for more than the higher wages and improved benefits it secured for them. Specifically, Clark points to the importance members placed on union-instituted grievance and arbitration procedures, which most labor historians have seen as impediments rather than improvements.

From the signing of contracts in 1943 until a devastating strike fifteen years later, the union gave local workers the tools they needed to secure at least some measure of workplace autonomy and respect from their employer. Union-instituted grievance procedures were not without flaws, says Clark, but they were the linchpin of these efforts. When arbitration and grievance agreements collapsed in 1958, the result was the strike that ultimately broke the union. Based on complete access to company archives and transcripts of grievance hearings, this case study recasts our understanding of labor-management relations in the postwar South.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[P]rovides a sense of immediacy that makes his work a lively presentation that reads in places like a novel.

South Carolina Review

No one concerned about industrial justice can truly comprehend this struggle without entering the shop-floor world that Clark reveals.

David Brody, University of California, Davis

One of the best available accounts of workplace conflict over the hated 'stretch-out.'

Reviews in American History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807846179
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 3/3/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel J. Clark is assistant professor of history at Oakland University in Michigan.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Cotton Mill Fever, 1895-1938 9
2 Modernization and Unionization, 1938-1943 26
3 Initial Conflicts: Equality, Ambiguity, and Security of Livelihoods, 1943-1944 48
4 A New (Old?) Work Ethic, 1943-1958 64
5 The Roots of Workload Conflict 87
6 The Ambiguous Terms of Workload Conflict 105
7 Taking the Offensive: Seeking Greater Control over Workloads, 1948-1958 124
8 Beyond the Mills: Local and Regional Contexts 148
9 Striking for the Grievance Procedure, 1958-1961 168
Conclusion 199
App. A Population and Racial Composition of Henderson Town 209
App. B Population and Racial Composition of Vance County 210
App. C Record of Sales, Taxes, Income, and Dividends, 1944-1958 211
Notes 213
Selected Bibliography 243
Index 253
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