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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Story about pharmaceutical industry in North Carolina

Faircloth says that industries that came to North Carolina during his tenure as Commerce Secretary did so because they wanted to avoid unions. He managed to court the pharmaceutical industry, electronics, and textiles. Faircloth concludes this excerpt with a story about how North Carolina's bootleggers were well prepared to mix drugs for pharmaceutical companies.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0069. 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

JM: Let me go off here for just one second. [Break] That GM example is a really interesting one. You have a model of the nature of the economic growth that you want to unfold in North Carolina, and you're out recruiting on that model and making sure that that moves forward. LF: We made it very clear. I mean, we didn't put ads in the paper, you know, that it was a non-union state. We put a lot of industry into the mountains. The outboard motor industry is in three different plants up there that specifically asked for non-union. But, most of the industry coming to the state -- without blatantly picking, putting out the switchblade and saying “no union” -- they wanted non-union atmosphere. Can you imagine what a union would do to IBM? [Can you imagine] the atmosphere if Northern Telecom were unionized? It just doesn't work. The type of industry that I was trying to bring to the state and the type of industrial mood I was trying to bring, did not lend itself to unionization because that was coming out of the old heavy steel industry and that sort of thing. We did a lot of traveling. We picked up a lot of foreign industry. One thing I concentrated on was the pharmaceutical industry. At one time of the ten major pharmaceutical plants in the world, we had nine of them here. Of course, there's been so much consolidation since then, I don't even know which was which. I worked on two areas. We really concentrated on the high tech, micro-electronics industry. You can't do everything. There was some heavy industry and the expansion of our textile industry. We tried to work very closely with the new, modern, sophisticated textile industry, but the pharmaceuticals and that type of industry, we worked real hard on [those industries]. A quick, funny story. I remember I had a man who was head of Squibb. That was before it became Squibb-Merck. I'm not even sure--. They've all merged so fast now. I think this man's name was McFarland, but I'm not sure. [He was] sort of tall, distinguished, and very British. [He was a] very elegant man. I was trying to get him to build a penicillin plant in Kenly. [That’s] in Johnston County. You know where it is? Johnston County was a notorious bootlegging area for years and years and years. We were having a little meeting and the very proper McFarland, he was head of Squibb, he says, “Do you think that the people in Kenly can manufacture penicillin?” I said, “Well, yeah. I think so. You're making it in New Jersey, and if they can make it there, we can make it here.” I says, “How do you make it?” He says, “Well, it's nothing complex. It's fundamentally a fermentation and distillation process.” I says, “Hell, they've been in business a hundred and fifty years. They just didn't call it penicillin.” We concentrated on that. We made a number of trips to Japan and Europe, Hunt and myself.