Norma Jae: Film Analysis: Norma Rae: Movie Analysis

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Norma Rae: Movie Analysis The American labor movement has changed considerably since its inception, trying to find the most effective way to achieve its mission for American workers. After a struggle between those who favored a labor political party and those who preferred the business union, the most success was attained through pragmatic attempts of early leaders. By working within the current economic system, these leaders found success advocating for the improvement of member working conditions, benefits, and wages. While many factors have contributed to a steady decline in union membership, the story of Norma Rae demonstrates a quintessential labor union success story. Through the lens of the movie, the following analysis will provide …show more content…
Henley Textile Mill. The O.P. Henley Textile Mill was one of the few remaining non-union textile mills of the late 1970’s when union organizer, Reuben Warshovsky of the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA), shows up with the difficult task of organizing the mill. Previous attempts by the TWUA had failed and the general sentiment of the workers, townspeople, and city officials was still anti-union. The movie portrays the type of grassroots effort necessary for union success in such situations, highlighting the legal rights of both the mill and the labor union. The key to Reuben’s success was winning over an energetic, bold, and influential employee, Norma Rae, willing to risk her own situation for the good of the many. Throughout the campaign, the movie depicts the poor working conditions and …show more content…
In fact, I believe it is for these very reasons that labor organizations found success during the early to mid-20th century. Many American workers were being taken advantage of, not recognizing the power they actually held over the company if they were willing to stand up for themselves. Personally, I was surprised at the length the mill was willing to go to stop organization, such as changing work schedules to three day weeks, promoting Norma Rae in attempt to quiet her, striving to ignite racial tension, and posting legal notices out of sight. The element of the movie that stood out to me the most was the grave oversight by the O.P. Henley Textile Mill in their handling of the situation and their inability to recognize the opportunity for a better strategy for union opposition. The mill already had a workforce that had voted against organization in the past and a general population that was anti-union. In my view, if they had attempted to collaborate with and improve the conditions of their employees after the last organization failure, they may have been able to avoid the union’s return, improve conditions and relations with employees, and still have been better positioned

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