Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, August 20 and 21, 1976. Interview A-0328-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Refusal to condemn labor union movement limits political support

Sanford lost some political support because he did not condemn labor unions. He believed that they had been beneficial for North Carolina and for the economy in general.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, August 20 and 21, 1976. Interview A-0328-2. 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

BRENT GLASS:
How does the absence of a significant organized labor force in North Carolina effect politics?
TERRY SANFORD:
Well, if you wanted to be half way fair, or certainly if you wanted to be fair to organized labor as such, it cost you politically. It cost me politically to be known as a person that thought labor unions were all right, let alone not being an advocate of it one way or the other. I just simply thought that the labor union movement in this country had been very beneficial to the whole economy and for North Carolina too, indirectly because of the assistance of labor unions. Even the Burlington and Cannon Mills people would admit that they were keeping ahead of the unions in what they were doing. So, we benefited from the union movement. I attempted to be fair and always was and have no regrets, but I don't doubt that it cost me votes, especially in the hosiery business and to some extent, the small furniture business in the High Point-Thomasville area. There happened to be a fellow over there that ran a regular crusade against me because I was pro-labor, he said, and he was in charge of the kind of strong arm effort to keep labor out of that area.