The movie Norma Rae accurately portrays the trials and tribulations associated with the organization of a union. The movie takes place in a small town where the only jobs for the unskilled laborer are at a textile manufacturing plant. The wealthy educated run the business and the poor uneducated work it. The clear division of classes in the town as well as in the plant makes a great platform for unionization. Treating employees in a inhumane manner will eventually cause one of them to turn on you.
When Rueben, the union organizer comes to town and is talking to the employees about higher wages and better benefits, he has a hard time getting anyone’s attention. Initially there is fear of false hopes and empty promises. I can see where the people of the town and the employees would have a negative reaction to an outsider from the city coming in and talking about wages they never dreamed of making, even after 30 years of employment.
Eventually Rueben is able to draw Norma Rae’s interest enough, she starts asking questions and contemplating whether or not changing the system is really possible. I believe she mostly wanted to change the system for her children. She had watched her parents work in the mill for 30 years and never advance. They did not advance in their careers, in their finances, or their social lives. She was on exactly the same road as her parents and wanted better for her children. The movie left the impression the union made life at the mill in a small town better.
I believe there is a time and place for unions. In the conditions shown in the movie, a union was necessary. The small town mind set was never going to change. It needed the unionization to inspire change. Realistically thinking, I think it is pretty amazing Rueben and Norma Rae was able to sell the union to the employees. I find most people refuse change most of the time. Change is upsetting and disrupting. It causes...
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