The Unionization of Erwin's Mill: A History of TWUA Local 250, in Erwin, North Carolina: 1938-1952

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Title: The Unionization of Erwin's Mill: A History of TWUA Local 250, in Erwin, North Carolina: 1938-1952
Author: Carver, Mark Dean
Advisors: Dr. Joe Caddell, Committee Member
Dr. David Zonderman, Committee Chair
Dr. Keith Luria, Committee Member
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to document the history of the Textile Workers union of America (TWUA), Local 250, in Erwin, North Carolina, from 1938-1952. Prior to unionization, Erwin's workers suffered unfair labor practices including: heavy workloads, low wages, long hours, and the absence of grievance procedure. The unionization of Erwin's workers provided a grievance procedure, fair workloads, higher wages, and better hours. TWUA Local 250 worked hard to represent its members and assure them a fair and just system. This thesis examines the first fifteen years of unionization and some of the problems that occurred in Erwin's mill. These problems include anti-union sentiment, unfair company policies, an unnecessary strike, and a political power struggle within the national union. Through the examination of primary sources including company, union, government correspondences, newspaper articles, and personal interviews, it becomes evident that Erwin's workers needed a union to ensure a fair and just system. A fair and just system would only be possible through better communication with the company, the national union, and the federal government. The company, national union, and government seemed to care very little for the desperate situations endured by Local 250 during these first fifteen years. This thesis shows the national union's poor judgment, lack of leadership, and most of all, lack of compassion for Local 250. This study provides a view of the national union from the perspective of the local union.
Date: 2004-11-15
Degree: MA
Discipline: History

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