The textile industry is characterized by heterogeneity; large firms coexist with small ones, and some sectors of the industry are highly competitive while others are highly concentrated. However, certain common tendencies characterize capital-labor relationships. There is intense competition in the industry, which threatens mill towns and communities, and an antiunion ideology permeates these areas. For many mills, the characteristically small production units of manufacture and the fragmentation and dispersion of corporate ownership among numerous families are factors as well.
The textile industry in the United States was never highly unionized. Yet, prior to the onset of World War II, textile workers in the United States made inroads into unionizing the industry. The textile industry entered the post-World War II period with a stronger union presence at the workplace and greater competition in the economy.
However, during the post- World War II period, textile industries were able to impede unionization and restructure capital-labor relationships. The industry became increasingly more concentrated during this period, and while it has not approximated the levels of capital concentration found in many other industries, the larger corporations have been able to amass greater financial resources. Both increasing mechanization of the labor process and capital migration became possible with greater disposable capital. While these processes are analytically distinct they are interdependent and occur simultaneously.
The adoption of technological innovations in the labor process occurred largely during the 1960s. In addition to new forms of machinery, synthetic fibers that eliminate cleaning processes, computerization, and new architectural forms promoted the combination and integration of many areas of textile production. Moreover, recruitment of management from professional business