The Fabric of Hope and Resistance: North Carolina Women on Strike

The Fabric of Hope and Resistance: North Carolina Women on Strike

Though they have often been silent, NC women who have been on strike have powerful stories to tell. Their voices are rarely heard in a state that has consistently maintained the lowest rate of unionism. These women worked in textiles, telecommunications, tire manufacturing, and paper production and participated in disputes that span the decades from the General Textile Strike of 1934 to strikes in 1999 and 2001. Some of their stories tell of finding strength and resilience in so-called "men's” jobs, competing in non-traditional jobs for women. Other narratives tell of their many sacrifices as the women suppressed their own needs in order to organize and participate in unions while also taking care of their families or co-workers. A third group of stories reveals the women's evolution from unionists to activists, demonstrating their solidarity with union sisters and brothers while advocating for economic and social justice. A fourth set of narratives centers on union feminists' stories of leadership in promoting gender and racial equality, workplace democracy, and community justice. As a result of their participation in labor disputes, these NC women have woven powerful tapestries of protest, resistance, hope, and transcendence.

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