Segments in this Video

Stories from an American Mill (02:03)


Employees of a towel manufacturer discuss the company's discouragement of unions and their fight for respect from management.

Cannon Mill Paternalism (03:33)

Kannapolis factory workers describe the Cannon family's control over their lives and freedom. Learn the North Carolina textile town's history.

Mill Town Culture (02:58)

Union organizer Ernest Bennett, Reverend Alexander Porter, and third generation workers discuss how Kannapolis life is centered around the factories.

Kannapolis Labor Strikes (02:49)

Learn how union activity was violently suppressed in Cannon Mills in 1934. Despite 1935 labor legislation, workers wouldn't repeat the attempt to organize for 40 years.

Organizing in Kannapolis (02:44)

A mill worker describes unfair working conditions and labor practices. She joined the union campaign in 1974—against her father's advice.

Kannapolis Union Campaign (02:17)

View a company film warning against organizing. Fear of being fired made the town's majority vote against the union in 1974.

Kannapolis Corporate Takeover (02:35)

Learn how David Murdock bought Cannon Mill in 1982; laid off workers; sold homes; and used industrial engineers to cut wages for efficiency.

Corporate Intimidation (03:12)

Organizers describe campaign motivations. Murdock threatened to shut down the mill and workers voted against the union—he sold the company and took retirement funds.

Cutting Production Costs (03:07)

Fieldcrest bought Cannon in 1986. Wages were cut and 12 hour shifts were established to avoid overtime.

Fieldcrest Intimidation Tactics (04:52)

Union organizers were successful at mobilizing Kannapolis workers in 1991. Learn how the company fought back in the workplace.

Dividing Kannapolis (02:39)

Fieldcrest hired an African American PR firm to turn the community against the union. View footage of anti-union demonstrations.

Kannapolis Union Vote (05:29)

Thirteen employees were illegally terminated for union activity. Despite Fieldcrest's claim to victory, the National Labor Relations Board disqualified the vote as a draw.

Textile Labor Legacy (04:11)

Fieldcrest workers and union organizers describe the impact of losing the election. They took the company to court.

Ruined Kannapolis Livelihoods (03:14)

Courts ruled that Fieldcrest had used illegal tactics against union organizers in 1991—but the right to organize had been compromised.

UNITE! Campaign (01:28)

In 1997, new union efforts began in Kannapolis—but many textile jobs had been eliminated or moved overseas.

UNITE! Election (03:19)

Fieldcrest workers voted against unionizing for the fourth time in 1997, an outcome the NLRB contested. The company was sold to Pillowtex.

Kannapolis Union Victory (03:25)

The NLRB overturned the 1997 election and held a second one in 1999—supported by Pillowtex management. View footage of workers celebrating.

Fair Labor Practices (01:36)

In February 2000, UNITE! and Pillowtex concluded contract negotiations. Workers express satisfaction with the outcome.

U.S. Textile Industry Decline (03:14)

In 2001, production was moving overseas and Kannapolis plants were going bankrupt. Workers discuss limited employment options.

Kannapolis Epilogue (00:41)

In 2003, Pillowtex closed and 4,340 workers were laid off. 266,000 U.S. textile jobs have been lost since NAFTA was passed in 1994.

Credits: Where Do You Stand? Stories From An American Mill (01:10)

Credits: Where Do You Stand? Stories From An American Mill

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Where Do You Stand? Stories From An American Mill

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



A documentary on the landmark union victory in organizing the multi-racial workforce at the J. P. Stevens textile mill in Kannapolis, NC, one of the first in the South. This haunting film is about the rise and fall of an American town and the epic struggle of the people who live there. In the process it tells the story of dramatic changes in labor and demographics, in the nature of corporations, the rise of multinationals, and changes in the American South in the post-industrial age. (61 minutes)

Length: 61 minutes

Item#: BVL57873

Copyright date: ©2004

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Dealer customers.