Covering for the BossesLabor and the Southern Press

Covering for the BossesLabor and the Southern Press

Joseph B. Atkins

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781934110805

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

This book probes the difficult relationship between the press and organized labor in the South from the past to the present day. Written by a veteran journalist and first-hand observer of the labor movement and its treatment in the region’s newspapers and other media, the text focuses on the modern South that has evolved since World War II. In gathering materials for this book, the author crisscrossed the region, interviewing workers, managers, labor organizers, immigrants, activists, and journalists, and canvassing labor archives. Using individual events to reveal the broad picture, the book is a personal journey by a textile worker’s son who grew up in North Carolina, worked on tobacco farms and in textile plants as a young man, and went on to cover as a reporter many of the developments described in this book. The author details the fall of the once-dominant textile industry and the region’s emergence as the “Sunbelt South.” He explores the advent of “Detroit South” with the arrival of foreign automakers from Japan, Germany, and South Korea. And finally he relates the effects of the influx of millions of workers from Mexico and elsewhere. The book shows how, with few exceptions, the press has been a key partner in the powerful alliance of business and political interests that keep the South the nation’s least-unionized region.