Webster’s dictionary defines “Union” as an organization of workers who act together to secure benefits and rights in the workplace. As a worker, you have a right under federal law to form a union, select representatives of your choice and bargain cooperatively with your employer. This helps balance the power that employers have over individual employees. A union allows workers to say what changes are needed in the workplace condition and solving workplace problems.
With a union contract and grievance procedure to back them up, workers don’t have to suffer in silence or feel that their only option to unacceptable conditions is to quit their jobs.
Throughout the years the epidemics of Unions have flourished in the United States, causing employers to agree with the employee’s demands or else they will refuse to work. There are many illustrations of Union movement and formation throughout the United States.
One particular Union movement was made into a movie titled “Norma Rae”.
The movie “Norma Rae” was a realistic portrayal of oppressive working conditions that existed in the lives of mass production workers. Moreover, it was one woman’s struggle to overcome and improve the working conditions at a textile mill during the 1970’s. Sally Field plays the leading role as Norma Rae fighting the poor working conditions at her job at O. P Henly textile mill.
O. P Henley was a textile mill located in southern United States, where Sally Field met with Ruben Warshovsky, a union organizer from New York, to help improve working conditions and compensation for employees at her factory through the use of unionization.
Through blood sweat and tears, Norma and Ruben accomplished to organize a labor union at the textile mill. The company held a voting ballet in which the Union organization out voted the voters who didn’t want a union 427 to 373. This movie was based on a true story located in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina in 1973.
A woman by the name of Crystal Lee Sutton battled for the workers against a J. P Stevens Textile mill. Her actual protest is the scene in the movie where she writes the word “Union” on a piece of cardboard box and stands on her worktable until all machines are were turned off and silent. This was the turning point where it finally became clear that the workers needed a Union to represent and act on the horrifying and unhealthy working conditions. Although Sutton was fired from her job, the mill became unionized, and she later got a job as an activist.