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June 10, 1978 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-06-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 14-Saturday, June 10, 1978-The Michigan Daily
The union vs. J.P. Stevens

(Continued from Page 9)
THE COMPANY reports that the
union "is resorting to desperate tac-
tics" and that no effect from the boycott
has been felt.
The Financial News Service reported
from New York an item which ap-
peared in the Daily New Record on May
25 that earnings for the company fell
5.8 per cent during the second quarter
(May, June and July) and were down
6.4 per cent for the six months which
ended April 29. Sales, however, jumped
4.8 per cent over that half year period.
Volume of sales is up, but profits are
down. Franklin sounds pleased to say
that, "Our sales keep going up."
Goldstein explained that profits aren't
up because Stevens is selling goods at
reduced prices. Thus, the volume of
sales rises and the appearance of
growth is protected.
Whether Stevens has gone to these
lengths to create an image of stability
is impossible to determine from the
outside. But the sentiment among the
boycotters is that "they're feeling
pressure," as veteran organizer
McIver said in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The AFL-CIO has tried many ap-
proaches over the years: negotiating
directly with Stevens, elections in plan-
ts, attempting to isolate Stevens from
the rest of the business community
through pressure at the executive level,
and now the boycott.
BUT THE outcome of the movement
will undoubtedly depend to a large ex-
tent on the attitudes of the workers in
the plants. In the transcript of a Sixty
Minutes program aired March, 1977 the
following is recorded:
MIKE WALLACE (CBS reporter):
Stevens' workers average about 3.65 an
hour; that's 75 cents an hour less than
the average for southern factory
workers. Most Stevens employees work
six-day weeks. Pensions are
miniscule; vacations are one week a
year, no matter how long the worker's
length of service. With all that you'd
think they'd be lining up to join the
union. You'd be wrong .. .
FEMALE WORKER: With the
boycott, my job (in Roanoke Rapids)
has been shut down. There's hundreds
of looms standing in there, and it

doesn't look good at all. I think the
union should help us sell our products
instead of boycotting our products ...
MALE WORKER: Well, everybody
got their own personal feeling, and
mine is, this was a nice quiet little town
and everybody was happy, like one big
happy family. And all at once the union
come in, and a bunch of young people
they want to join the union and get
something for nothing, splits the town
in two. Then, you got troubles."
STEVENS is quick to pick up on these
kinds of sentiments. Franklin from
Stevens sounded very much like the fir-
st worker quoted above when he says:
"The union takes eight bucks a month-
from every member and 50 per cent of
that goes for the organization and sup-
port of the boycott. Is that where the

money should go?"
He also reflected the comments of the
second worker when he described union
tactics to recruit members, which
would "split" the town as mentioned
above. "They show up on a doorstep
and say 'Sign up with us and if you don't
sign up with us, we'll boycott.'"
Franklin said the union uses threats
against those who oppose the union's ef-
forts.
The Citizens Committee for Justice
for J. P. Stevens Workers in Detroit -
which boasts Douglas Fraser from UAW
and U.S. Senator Donald Riegle (D-
Mich.) on its Executive Committee and
U.S. Congressmen James Blanchard
(D-Pleasant Ridge), William Brodhead
(D-Detroit), John Conyers (D-Detroit)
and Charles Diggs (D-Detroit) on its
Citizens Committee - begins a public

release with the arresting salutation:
"Dear Friends of Social Justice:"
Stevens and union sympathizers use
different terms to describe what's hap-
pening in the South.
It has been framed as a social
movement, not just a labor dispute the
way frequent Detroit and Chicago
negotiations are disputes. J. P. Stevens
directors become the John Vorsters of
American business. The immediate
question is whether or not consumers
around the country will commit them-
selves to the boycott, accepting what
they are told are broad implications of
the inability of 44,000 workers to
bargain with the organization for which
they work.
Stevens may be right. Maybe unions
have fallen out of favor in America.

Tales of England by Pritchett
(continued from Page 8)

"The Camberwell Beauty" - After
being rescued from a river, a chaste
aspiring writer is seduced by a
notorious woman who, until then, has
ignored him.
Pritchett's descriptions also border
on the fantastic at times, giving the
reader a chance to use imagination:
She was a woman who easily changes size.
She could inflate or contract. At the moment,
not touching her smoked salmon, she was con-
tracting. The large mouth had become no more
than a slot, her large eyes a collection of flints
RICHARD
Haveoa very happy l st
birthday (a little early)

her flowing hrows hd stiffened and had the hod-
ing of musta ches, her nohlebreastwere
like a pair of grenades with the pins out; and
those arms, usually so still and statuesque,
now swiped about likeIndian clubs as she talked.
PRITCHETT controls his stories,
though; descriptions are more often
understated (to describe a convention
dinner he writes, "More than two hun-
dred soup spoons scraped") than
detailed. Given the inherent length
limitations of short stories, his restraint
is admirably suited to the genre.
The plot of "The Fall" seems
especially appropriate for a short story.
The, incident itself is slight, but Prit-
chett develops Peacock into a sym-
pathetic character without relying on
stereotypes about performers and their'
relatives, and the climax of the story is
startling.
As well crafted as these stories are,
they 'de- 'fiy 'hard -to approach -
be ad e 'of' Pritchett's'. perd c e''
Selected Stories couprises stories Iotni'
four earlier volmes covering a

published time range of about twenty
years. "When My Girl Comes Home"
focuses on life directly following World
War II, and readers under forty may
find it difficult to relate to the abject
horror of Hilda Johnson's family and
friends when she announces that she
married a Japanese man.
Pritchett's characters are unlike any
people I've known, and although they
did seem alive while I was reading, on-
ce I closed the book, they vanished,
leaving me with little more understan-
ding of the people I do know.
As a woman, it's often difficult to
read a book written from a male
viewpoint. Pritchett, in the role of
narrator, apologizes in "When My Girl
Comes Home", writing "It is one of the
difficulties I have in writing, that, all
along, I was slow to see what was really
happening, not having a woman's eye
or ear". I don't fault him for writing
primarily from a young male's point of
vieW (Pritchettlis now 78years old) but;
I did feel somewhat excluded from his

intended audience.
For this reason, and the ever-present
Anglicism of the stories, my final
feeling was that of an unobserved spy.
The stories may not have been meant
for me, but I had a fine time reading
them.

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