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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Scott Hoyman, July 16, 1974. Interview E-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Mediating for the TWUA at Erwin Mills in Durham, North Carolina

Hoyman talks about the work he did at the Erwin Mills in Durham, North Carolina, in 1952 following the Baldanzi-Rieve split in the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA). According to Hoyman, there were factions trying to get Erwin Mills to switch over to the United Textile Workers; however, many workers who remembered the 1934 strikes and the misery that came with them were apprehensive about this. Hoyman was sent in to mediate the situation for TWUA.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Scott Hoyman, July 16, 1974. Interview E-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

SCOTT HOYMAN:
Well, after some shuffling around, what we were doing was staffing up places where the folks had kind of jumped the fence. And what this involved, in my own situation, I went to Erwin Mills in West Durham, which had been TWUA, and Erwin Mills in Erwin which was organized by, was TWUA. Both those locals as well as Cooloomee, which was the third Erwin mill, they were all three trying to go UTW. So, we were bringing in staff from the North and staff from other places in the South that were still with the administration and I ended up in charge of the situation at Erwin, North Carolina. I spent about a month and a half, maybe, in Durham at the old hotel that is torn down now.
BILL FINGER:
You were just trying to rebuild the organizational structure?
SCOTT HOYMAN:
Yes. We were doing a very complicated thing, because we were trying to replace… first of all, all these locals took the money out of the bank and put it in someplace that they thought would be safe. When they did that, the international union put them all under an administrator, which in effect, suspended activity, like imposing martial law. It suspended everybody and it left only the administrator in charge of internal affairs and with the ultimate responsibility for a bargaining relationship. That was the tricky part, with the companies involved. Now, the companies …
BILL FINGER:
This was all internal kinds of … constitutional things …
SCOTT HOYMAN:
Yes.
BILL FINGER:
None of this was NLRB or anything like that?
SCOTT HOYMAN:
Not at that point. It got there. But this was all following the internal procedures set out in the constitution. You know, dual unionism isn't encouraged in any labor organization or in any international. So, at any rate, I got to be the administrator in Erwin. Mostly because neither of the other two staff guys, both of whom were older and had more service, wanted that responsibility. And what we found down there, happily, was a group of people in the local who thought what the incumbents had done was absolutely wrong and they didn't want any part of the United Textile Workers. And the big argument all over the South was, "Lord, we don't want to get into that Union and have happen to us what they did to our mothers and fathers in 1934."
BILL FINGER:
You heard that a lot?
SCOTT HOYMAN:
Oh yeah. About that they had promised in the '34 strike that the food would come and the food never came.
BILL FINGER:
Where did you hear that stuff?
SCOTT HOYMAN:
In Erwin.
BILL FINGER:
You heard it in Erwin?
SCOTT HOYMAN:
In Erwin, yeah, sure.