THH DAILY TAR HEEL
1 . W
FRIDAY, MAY 1, 195?
, 1 1 i ii J '-
1 rn" J
Who Is Right?
Ytiv Niiiil tlu it is no longer .i strike in
I k i sun. It 1 1. I k ii tratislornit'il into a
!tkMit thiu;li tin- tiiclcss efforts of union
Itustin; Jolin 1). Cooper, pi evident .of tlic
1 1 .m i t 1 Irndi iMtn Mills.
C do imi weed to he icmindi'd that tlicie
.uc alw.tNs two sides to a stoiy. Nov do t lie
u.idris need notili( at ion that sometimes one
! tlu- two sides is li.nht. while the other is
Im-u.iII 1011-4. Sni h is the ease in Hender
son. Attn 4oiii4 to lleiideison, and following
the pio et (lilies ill the past L", weeks, the
pipei i coiniiKul loond any shadow of a
doiiht that the stiikeis aie li.ht. We fmther
lei 1 that it the situation continues at its ' pies
en t 1 1 1 lu le is little ( ha ii( e il the sti ikeis
o!in ( oopei is piep.ned and hilly able to
hold out tor an indelinite peiiod of time.
I he polio ol the union, whith is beini; tli
icitiit 1 I'.omI Paton, is not sulfieient tor
the Ntiikiis to tiiuinph. Tnless and until the
I I 111 it t I It ndt 1 sou Mills aie closed by the
(toxeinor, the "Valis" will continue to tin 11
out the piod u ts. while the mill 'i I labels
will st uid on the other side of the sheet,
Inm 41 . tiled tlish.ui-'lit. .irul UHiHT!
We sa li-ht Ik cause we feel that Cooper
h is misled the (ioxeinot and the woikcrs. We
viv liuht Ixi iuse the stiikeis only wanted a
uik u d ol iluit old contract. And we say
lijit I'ei.iixi- the stiikeis aie detent people
who hae bi en out of woik for 'J" weeks,
while ohu 1). Cooper continues to tail to
show ii an si'ns of c oinpromise.
1 he editoi ol the paper wishes to expicss
his applet iation to 'led Crane. Ron Shumate,
Petei P. Voiin- and Charlie Webb for their
fine assist am e in the compiling of this special
l)ail I n I feel editoi ial pac.
Iluse lour, alon with the editor, hae
all bi a n in lleiideison dining this shike and
hue seen the situation as it is existing totlay,
just a lew miles horn here. The editor invites
comments I10111 the .students in the form of
lettcis 01 columns peitainin;.; to the Hender
son situation and this pae totlay.
Is publisher! daily
txcrpt Monday and
ind n'mme term
Entertd sj second
clas- matter in ihe
rxt office in Chapel
Hilt. N. C. under
the act of March 8
rites: $4 50 per -e
mestrr, $8 50 pr
The DMily Tar Heel
U printed by th?
Nrwi Inc., Carrboro, N. C.
sst. News it or
, Siif of lb yuivrrtUy
HHfHvC i dtXM
Peter B. Young
One hour on the HVndvrson pick
et line is prc-bably worth ono year
in college. I have now .spent two
houp on the line at Henderson and
this -combined with more years in
college than 1 like to think about.
is what makes me a reasonably
well-educated American in this
year of our Lord 15r:i.
As you probably know. I am
Ly temperament and conviction on
the side of the IUnder-son .strikers.
I make no apologies for this; it is
inconceivable to me that I could
be anywhere else. However and
this is the point', the analysis of
the strike which I am about to
make is one that i.s basically
agreed upon by many students who
arc not particularly sympathetic
to organized labor.
The follow. 114 hard FACTS seem
to be agreed upon by all observers:
1. The labor movement in this
state is weak in terms of mem
bership, money, leaders and tra
dition. 2. The above fact is reflected in
the state's "right -to-work" law, the
enforcement of which by the High
way Patrol at Henderson enables
Cooper to run his mill on imported
3. Ihe textile industry is chron
ically sick, that is, it has inherited
feudal patterns of industrial organ
isation from the very first plants
of the Industrial Revolution in
England. This fact has been well
documented by our o.vn Mary (1 il
son in her book. What's Past Is
4. The three facts above com
bine to form an explosive fourth
fact: in this st:de it i.s possible for
a determined employer to bu.-t a
union and John Cooper is nothing
if not determined.
It. i.s not my purpose here to
argue the merits or demerits of
union-busting. And, in fairness to
(Charlie Webb is a junior from Asheville, N. C.
He writes here of his hour-long visit last week
with Marshall Cooper, vice president of the Har-riet-Henderscn
Cotton Mills in Henderson. We are
pleased to have this dissenting opinion (pro-management)
in contrast to the editor's announced
support of the strikers.)
Last week I journcycu to Henderson with three
friends and we were able to talk with the Vice
President of the Harriet-Henderson Mills, and see
first-hand the evidences of the violence which has
plagued that town for some weeks now.
Here, then, I will attempt to present the facts
learned and impressions gained in that afternoon.
We sat and talked with Marshall Cooper for
about an hour. He laid us of dynamitings, rock
throwing, general mob violence, and of strike break
ers, highway patrolmen and many other things
He showed us pictures of shambled workers' homes,
of a man struck by a rock, and of highway patrol
men trying to handle angry and violent strikers.
He gave us some 'acts and figures: The unions
have caused the workers to lose over eleven months
from their jobs due to strikes in the last seven years.
In that time, the workers have paid well over $300,
000 in union dues and have lost over 2vz million
dollars in wages .If these facts are all correct, then
can the TWIT A (Textile Workers Union of America)
really be helping the workers?
While we were at the Mill, the first shift got
off and the second came on. This was at 3 p.m. Th"
workers filed quickly from the mill, got in their
cars, usually four or more to each car, and drove
quickly out. We could see them close windows and
bolt doors. We saw one man open his trunk, re
move a shotgun, and place it on the seat beside
him, before driving away. They drove out the gate
amid hoots and cat-calls, and some curses, uttered
mainly by the women standing about.
This was daytime, however. At night, as Cooper
informed us, the strikers get violent. They have
the cover of darkness under which to hide. Cooper
told us that most of the workers coming in on the
second shift (3-11 p.m.) would be carrying guns.
This second shift was the group that had to spend
the night in the mill earlier last week, because the
extreme violence of the mob outside would not per
mit them to leave safely.
He said, however, that over 90 of them were
back at work the next afternoon, although they
could not leave the mill until 7 a.m. the next morn
ing. Many of them had driven over an hour to get
to and from the mill.
We asked Cooper, whose home was dynamited
two weeks earlier, if he thought this stunt might
be tried again. His reply was matter-of-factly:
"Wouldn't surprise me a bit."
After leaving Cooper's office, we traveled out
to the North Mill, where we saw more evidence of
violence. One section of the mill did not have a pane
of glass in any of its windows on the three sides
which were exposed.
Cars parked inside the fence were garbed in
cardboard to prevent rocks from doing further dam
age. Some strikers were standing by the side of
the road, and we rode by with our windows up.
Their glances were by no means of the more friend
I received two impressions from my visit in
Henderson. One was the clear determination of the
Harriet-Henderson Mills' management not to give
in to the unions. The other was that the TWUA is on
its way out in Henderson. Marshall Cooper is under
that impression. Stopping at a filling station, we
talked with the attendant there. Asked his opinion
of the whole thing, he said, "I'm for the working
man, but I believe the unions are on the way out
here." When and if the unions do go. the workers
will have to vote them out. The mill cannot run
them out; nor can the Mayor of Henderson or the
mill owner Cooper it should be
noted that he has denied several
times any intent to "bust" the
union. Yet actions speak louder
than words, ard Mr. Cooper's ac
tions from the beginning of the
strike down to the present day will
rdmit of no other interpretation
than that of wanting to abolish the
It is an elemental rule of po
litics that organizations do not ne
gotiate the question of their exist
ence. The union has compromised
every substantative issue of the
strike; it cannot compromise on
the question of its existence.
The corollary here is that Cooper
is the participant in the conflict
who can win. Cooper can win by
driving the union out, and bring
ing his old workers (sans union)
back into the plant on their knees.
The worker, on the other hand,
cannot "win" because a return to
the status quo ante helium is not
a victory. At best, the workers can
only avoid a crushing defeat.
But even if the workers cannot
"win" in the sense that Cooper
can, it is nevertheless of the ut
most importance that they do not
lose. The tactical problem lor
Cooper is how to sew up the vic
tory. The tactical problem for the
union is how to avoid irreparable
Stripping the conflict of all legal- j
itics, and all questions of "right;,"
and making the analysis in strict
ly military terms, the key to thelj
situation at the South Hendersony
mill is the control of the road that
leads up to the plant gate. As it
stands now, this road is controlled
by the well-armed Highway Pa
trol, backed up by a court injunc
tion which keeps the workers on
Twice a day (and next week per
haps three , times a day) the
"scabs", drive down this road un
der the; protection of the oiled
riot guns belonging to the High
way Patrol. Twice a day (and pext
week perhaps three times a day)
the union men on the sidewalk in
front of the grocery store die just
a little bit. 1
The Governor, John Cooper, and
even the leaders of the union have
talked so; much in recent -weeks
about the importance of 'law and
order" that they have all tended
to ignore the brutal truth that
"law and order" is killing the
strikers twice a day (and next
week perhaps three times a day).
It is painfully obvious that even
tually the strikers are going to
violate the injunction in some way
by contesting for control of the
road. If they are not to be shot
down like sheep the operation will
have to be handled with great de
licacy and skill. One suggestion
that has been made is lor the
strikers' wives to block the road.
And Boyd Payton, reminiscing the
other night over a cup of coffee,
told me that several years ago in
Danville he led a group of workers
to lie down on the highway there.
Meanwhile, the strikers and the
scabs and the Highway Patrol all
know that real violence is immin
ent. The scabs are well-armed (as
recent arrests have proved); the
Highway Patrol gets more nervous
with every passing day; and the
workers cluster in tense little knots
on the sidewalk.
John Cooper is holding all the
cards except one. The one card
he does not hold is the desperation
that drives his former workers.
One of these former workers car
ried a sign the other night which
said: "GOING FOR BROKE."
That sign is something to think
about, eh Governor?
1jc Baity 3uir ttl
Th official student publication ol the Publicatlor.
Roard t f the University of North Carolina, -!here H
DAVIS B. YOUNG
. CHUCK ROSS
. 7 ED RINKR
. ELLIOTT COOPER
Feature Editor MARY ALICE hOWLETTE
A5t. Adv. Manager
(Daily Tar Ilorl Managing Edi
tor Ron Shumate has been the
paper's special correspondent
assignH to the Henderson strike
for the past several weeks. lie is
as well qualified to comment on
the situation in Henderson as
any student on this campus. Ed.)
The Henderson strike ends its
twenty-fourth week today.
That's a total of l(i; days and
that is a total of 24 paychecks
that strikers have gone without.
Five and a half months is a long
time to be out of work. The strike
began a mere six weeks after
classes started here at Carolina.
Classes are still going; the strike
is still going. And it's beginning to
look as if the strike will outlast
classes in both semesters.
And suppose you had gone with
out money from home or from
your job since November 19. 1958.
That's when the strikers drew their
last paycheck. If such were the
case, you would have had to sub
sist on. let's say, meal tickets to
Lenoir Ha!l and an occasional
pack of cigaret'es. You would have
had no spending money no mon
ey to buy beer, no money to go to
a flick, no money to take a week
end off and go to the beach.
It wouldn't have been fun, would
Well, it isn't I tin in Henderson
either. For in Henderson, strikers
have no money, except a little
potket change they pick up oc
casionally doing (Kid jobs. And
most of them have families to care
for. True, the union is supplying
them wi.h food, cigarettes oc
casionally, is paying the strikers'
doctor bills, and other bills (such
as heat, lights and water) that
must be paid.
It isn't fun. And neither is it
It all began as just another strike.
And it began necausc mill presi
dent .khn D. Cooper Jr., wanted
to tear up a 14-ycar-old contract
to write a new one. The new con
tract that the mill proposed was
identical to the old oneexcept
that it included a clause that would
prevent any arbitration on disputes
between labor and management.
And so a story that started out
as a minor one on the inside pages
of papers across the state has
blossomed into the "Black Orchid"
of the state and nearly every day
now, makes ftont pages all across
North Carolina, and other states
The Henderson situation now
bangs like an ominous dark cloud
ever the whole state. And it is
presently saiurating the people of
Henderson with a downpour of
hatred, bitterness and amimosity
that will when and if the cloud
passes over leave Henderson a
bottomless pool to be avoided by
industry and peace-loving human
For the damage that has been
and is still being done at Hender
son will leave an indelible black
mark on the people of Henderson.
Little children, who never before
knew the meaning of such words
as "scab," now use such words
freely and they probably still
wonder at the meaning of some of
them. And these same children
are being brought up to hate some
of their former playmates be
cause the other children are the
sons and daughters of "scabs"
Henderson people who have gone
back to work.
As the "scabs" come out of the
mill each day, strikers on the
picket lines hurl such abusive
phrases at them as "Yellow scab!"
"Chicken;" "You're gonna get
yours;" and many, many more
some of them worse. And most of
the insults are voiced by women
wives and mothers who must later
turn to the upbringing of their
children. But instead of teaching
their children of love and affec
tion, they teach to hate "the dirty
And when the parents are asked
why they have quit coming to
church on Sunday, they answer,1
"The union is feeding us and cloth
ing us and what is the church
doing for us?" This was the case
that one minister, whose church
is in one of the mill areas, cited
to me only a few weeks ago.
Spring is here now. That means
many things to many people. To
students here at Carolina it means
a weekend trip to the beach; or
taking your girl to a movie. Spring
means picnics, beer blasts, par
ties. And to some it means base
ball, as the age old adage goes.
Spring means clear nights to go
to a drive-in.
And to some strikers in Hender
son spring also means clear nights.
But the clear nights in the mill
areas of Henderson mean a better,
clearer shot at a "scab" coming
out of the mill late at night.
Spring in Henderson means no
more standing in driving rain and
bitter cold to hurl even more bitter
insults at men with whom you once
hunted, fished, gamled, drank and
grew up with. Spring in Henderson
is a time when you hit men in the
head with steel nuts thrown from
tremendously powerful slingshots.
And probably only a few months
ago these same men had helped
you out of a jam; had looked out
for your wife and children when
you were sick.
. VA it Ifc. ' ji
A Pictorial Survey of Henderson Scene
; :ly 'y - -
THE MILL VILLAGERS
. . . typical cn in th mill village, police, striker, children, union officials and
amiout women gather on the sidewalk across from the Harriet-Henderson Mills in
South Henderson. What are they doing? They're waiting lor the next shjft to get off.
'THE -SoJtH MILL'
. . . the building pictured above Ts the oft publicized South Mill in Henderson, scene of most of the
violence in the strike so far. It is owned by Mihn O. Cooper and is now turning out the products of the
strikebreakers, most of whom have been transported in from another area.
This is spring in Henderson.
And this is as much the tragedy
of the Henderson strike as the
poverty of the strikers.
But, as in every case, there are
sides to the story.
The strikers feel that they are
right in striking. And they are.
And they feel that those who
have gone back to work have be
trayed the union as well as their
friends. And they have.
And they feel that the "scabs"
are helping Mr. Cooper destory
the union and what it stands for.
And they are.
The strikers very definitely have
something to stand on. There are
many technicalities that may be
given as reasons for their strike.
But the most important reasons to
the strikers are not legal reasons.
Their reasons for striking are
purely and simply their beliefs.
They believe in the union and
rightly so. They believe in trying
to fight Mr. Cooper's attempt to
crush the -union and, as Boyd Pay
ton put it last Thursday night, to
"rub the worker' noses in the dirt."
They believe in these things; but
more strongly they believe in
standing up and fighting to their
last breath for the things they be
lieve to be right. And this is still
another tragedy of the Henderson
For When people stand up and
fight for the things they believe
to be right and in this case, the
th ngs that ARE right and they
are thwarted at every turn by a
guzzled old mill owner who is out
to cut oil the ine bloi,d the union
of the pcop.e, this is a tragedy.
And as lar as we know, the only
purpose in tearing up a 14-year-ckt
contract to wre a new one,
was to smash the union. Maybe
Mr. Cooper has just reason for
wanting to do this.
If he Goes, he has tclJ no one
rublicly, that is.
Before this .'Like began. Mr.
Ccuper had a reputation of being
pro-labor, ii: u.-.oJ to make
speeches in which he advanced un
ions. He has spokjn mar.y times in
favor of labor.
V. hat, then, is h's reason? And
there a e a multitude cl questions
one could ask about the strike:
When will it end? WILL it end?
Who will end it? If it ends, who
Will the scars ever be healed?
South Mill Rd.
Theodore Crane Jr.
At eleven p.m. in Henderson on the s)n-h
road, you will find the trees already lined up .
lawns of the cottages, mothers holding ii;
small children to peer from darkened sere :
dows, and older children beginning to sn .
night standing by their fathers on the narrow
en sidewalk. Each man has a separate cone
all of them represent the idea of home. fan,,
food while the mill opposite the houses, sir.
the length of the block across the street lazilv .
bles and waits hungrily for these men. their ;
bag sandwiches and morning coffee. The L-i
houses on this street are turning out thr.'j-;,;,
dreams in another mill, which grinds slowly !;
house to house, a naked gray wind, scraping
through the unshaven trees that seem to rea.-h
to one another from house to house from fan,,:
family as faces move their feet slcwly and cv;i
the soft earth, spitting carefully and joking. l,k-
trees crouched and comfortable, as if they w
waiting for the rain.
There are no street lights on the mill ro,i !
dimly lit tunnel, it lies beneath the police flfn.
and sky rockets, the brifht searchlights at the m v ,
gates of the mill pushing the brown jackets further
into the shadows. Faceless cigarettes suspended n.
the darkness blink on and off on the wod ,
porches, and the men talk quietly as if they wen- ...
church. A grocery store sells hot dogs and h;m !
out coffee, a man with a suspended jil sent'-tr
is surrounded by a group of small boys joking uh -his
lost job, his feet rest easily on the ground ;
he sits on his son's green bicycle and everyone i
too casual. Only a few of the men mention tl.;
strike or why they. have become part of it. many of
them chew blades of grass and talk about the b:"
The crowd ripples slowly along the street. aH
policemen are nervous enough to kill because tb'
can't predict this weather seething indecisively lie
fore them talking politely and waiting with the
patience of a machine turned off. The strikers w s;'
for those who are still working to come out of tin3
mill, and they stand in front of these men. v.
walk quickly around them with their eyes fixed in
tently on the ground. Children of the strikers a
them questions, but the men hurry on silently no'
talking even among themselves. A small brown
haired boy standing at the side of his father. It -sleeves
torn and his feet bare, stretching out his
hand to one of these silent men offers him ?
piece of his jelly doughnut here, mister, aw n't
you hungry? and the other men lauh a it thr
tensions were momentarily forgotten.
Many people stand unhearing and insensitive,
almost at attention before the state troopers spaced
evenly at the edge of the road. One policeman secins
worried because no one is violating a law at th"
moment, and he must allow them the freedom t
do so. Some troopers carry tear gas guns and oth
er weapons, but not even the little boys show in
terest in these. No one appears to notice. Final!,
the last of those who are still working have left th"
mill, and the police leave in their cars slowly, a
if they felt guilty about leaving so early. The strik
ers remain, some in small groups, many on th"
lawns and porches of their neighbor's houses, smok
ing and talking about expressions on faces, the taste
of ceffee, and the coolness of the night.
The men stand there, a product of the black rich
ness of tenant farms in the southwest from which
they came hoping to grow from the mill a family
and a permanent home, and each man has a dream
which no mill thread can pull down or understand.
But a child can understand his starving mother and
father, their ragged jackets and muddy faces, th"
whispers, their eyes gleaming like severed ends of
newly clipped trees, and they are fighting in th"
only way they know how against forces of ratur.
fighting for the rain hoping to gain the streng'h ' ?
live your children are waiting, Henderson, an 1
children will grow.
. . . sometimes the face of one desperate and hungry
man can tell more of a story than a thousand words.
i n m pltim 'iiiiriniW