Unions were created to help the working man and woman achieve better wages and working conditions. Historically, unions were met with high scrutiny and resistance from management and self-organizing was a struggle. The movie Norma Rae perfectly depicts one woman 's struggle to organize a union within the textile mill she works at.
Summary of Movie
The movie Norma Rae opens in the summer of 1978 in a textile factory in a North Carolina town. As the camera pans through the mill, it follows a woman, later revealed as Norma Rae, as she moves about the machines. As she goes on break and tries talking to her mom, she realizes her mom cannot hear her and rushes her to the factory doctor. The doctor brushes off the loss of hearing as only temporary and if she wants to get away from the noise to get a job somewhere else. The town is a factory town where everyone works at the factory and it is practically impossible to get a job anywhere else.
Norma Rae has two children and lives with her parents, who both work at the mill. On their day off a union representative, Ruben Warshowsky, shows up at the house looking for a room to board. Norma 's father opens the door and is very hostile towards Ruben calling him a "no good crook" and threatening him if he ever showed up again. Later that night, Norma Rae was exiting a hotel room, after ending an affair, and ran into Ruben. They talk for a bit and leave it at that.
The next day, Ruben is outside the factory handing out flyers about joining a union and the benefits to doing so. Norma Rae gave him the tip to dumb down the flyers because to many big words were confusing to the factory workers. Management is disrespectful and rude to Ruben, where Ruben starts ...
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...mployees need over the ear, noise-canceling headphones to protect their ears. Another issue brought up is that they are not able to sit down while working unless they have a note from their doctor. Even then it is maybe 15 minutes or so at a time. In the movie, there are no chairs in the break room and workers need to sit on stairs or the ground during lunch time. The factory is built almost like a prison, as Norma Rae calls it, with barely any windows so no one know what time it is. While this is one of the harder things to change, it should still be taken into account for any potential employer in the future. Finally, African American employees are definitely treated unequal and are being pushed around. In the movie, many of the first adopters of unionization are African American employees and women most likely because management can treat them differently.
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