Capital-Labor Relations in the U.S. Textile Industry

By Barry E. Truchil | Go to book overview

3
TEXTILE CAPITAL RELOCATION

This chapter examines the mechanisms by which textile entrepreneurs enhanced their relative position vis-à-vis workers through capital relocation. The principal form that this strategy took during the postWorld War II period was the relocation of the mills from the North, a region characterized by a heritage of worker militancy and unionization, to the South, a region characterized by a weaker labor movement and much less unionization. Hence the textile capital-labor relationship was transformed when the textile companies actually sought to substitute new workers who would work for lower wages and be opposed to unions rather than to reduce the wages of already employed workers.

The traditional region for textiles in the United States had been the Northeastern states, especially New England. After 1880, the near monopoly of the New England region of textile manufacturing began to be challenged by the southern region. By the 1920s and 1930s, the Northeast as a region began to decline in both absolute and relative terms.1 Eighty percent of all organized textile workers were found in the Northeast.2 Moreover, during the post-World War II period, northern-based firms actively expanded into the South; prior to this period, most southern mills were indigenously owned.3 Hence the post-World War II period was an acute one for textile capital relocation, and during this period several scholarly and government studies of this relocation's social effects noted the magnitude of such capital movement as well as its adverse effects on textile workers.4 This process of capital relocation from the North to the South still continues.

In addition to a discussion of how capital relocation generally affects all workers, this chapter examines the advantages of the southern region to textile capital, analyzes the specific nature of southern class relationships as well as its changes during the post-World War II period, and documents both the movements of textile capital as well as their subsequent effects on textile capital-labor relationships. For a

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Capital-Labor Relations in the U.S. Textile Industry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Notes xiv
  • 1 - Profile of The Textile Industry 1
  • Notes 14
  • 2 - Mechanization in The Textile Labor Process 17
  • Notes 38
  • 3 - Textile Capital Relocation 41
  • Notes 85
  • 4 - State Intervention In Textile-Labor Relationships 91
  • Notes 121
  • 5 - Weakening Of Textile Labor 127
  • Notes 146
  • 6 - Conclusion 149
  • Appendix: Acquisitions And Deacquisitions of The 15 Largest U.S. Textile Companies, 1946-83 155
  • Selected Bibliography 169
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 195
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