Title: Oral History Interview with George Perkel, May 27, 1986. Interview H-0281.
Interviewer: Raub, Patricia
Interviewee: Perkel, George
Subjects: Trade-unions--Textile workers--North Carolina Textile workers--North Carolina--Health and hygiene Textile Workers Union of America
Abstract: George Perkel began his career as an economist on the National War Labor Board during World War II, after which he took his expertise to the Textile Workers Union of America. However, this interview does not focus on Perkel's experiences; instead, it distills Perkel's research, giving him an opportunity to describe his conclusions about unions in the South. Perkel seeks to explain unions' lack of strength in southern states, citing factors such as a mill town culture that made textile workers suspicious of organizers and resistant to outside influence, legislation intended to protect the right to organize that lost its teeth, and effective opposition from political and industrial interests. This dense, rich interview is a primer on the failure of unionization in the South, with a nod to some of the movement's successes in the region. It will make an excellent starting point for scholars interested in mill labor and the role of unions in the South.