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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lacy Wright, March 10, 1975. Interview E-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Unionization is important for southern labor

Wright explains why, after his fifty years of work for Cone Mills and fifteen years of work with the labor movement, he believes that unionization is important for Southern workers.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lacy Wright, March 10, 1975. Interview E-0017. 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

WILLIAM FINGER:
Lacy, after fifty years in the mill and about … let's see, about fifteen years real active in the union (since about '55), what do you see as the value of a union here in Greensboro?
LACY WRIGHT:
Well the value… In my opinion, if the textile industry doesn't get organized, with the organization of everything else in this country eventually it's going to run into a situation but what they won't have no say-so whatsoever of what they get. They'll just have to take whatever is offered to them.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you think a union's important.
LACY WRIGHT:
Sure!
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, why do so few people even want to pay dues? Five percent, ten percent, even in these plants that are organized.
LACY WRIGHT:
I don't know. I never have been able to figure that out, because I have tried to show people that even though they were paying… When we first started out, we started out with, I believe it was seventy-five cents a week; and when I left it had got to a dollar and a quarter. OK, now if that union, if the people all of them together would get any strong enough that the International could work through them or with them without them being a dead-head to them, that union could make them many times more than what they're going to pay in dues back in fringe benefits and wages, in working conditions.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But people don't see that.
LACY WRIGHT:
I just never could get them to see it to save my life. I don't know why. It's just something that's beyond my understanding. And living with the people, people that I grew up with, people that I've lived with all my life, and people that I had confidence as friends, people that… They weren't ignorant people; they weren't completely ignorant people. None of us were highly educated, but we weren't completely ignorant.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But you sound like you believe in the union completely.
LACY WRIGHT:
Oh, I'm 100 percent for a union that END OF INTERVIEW