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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