Monday, September 14, 2009

What Sucks…The Reaper


Ed. Note: Sally Field did not die.

Crystal Lee Sutton, the woman whose life story was the basis for the film Norma Rae, and subsequently Sally Field’s Academy Award Winning performance of the title character in that film, died today at the age of 68.

Crystal Lee Sutton was a single mom earning $2.65 an hour, in the early 70’s while working at a North Carolina textile plant.

Well, it being the early 70’s, $2.65 an hour was not going to buy the leisure suits and elevator shoes that were required for the times and forget about all that coke! Plus the working conditions she and other workers were forced to endure were deplorable- there was no disco ball, the company frowned on coffee breaks, much less coffee breaks key parties, etc. So this woman decided to organize the textile plant. When she told the company of her plans, they said “Oh, sure. No problem.” And that was that.

Ms. Sutton is survived by her husband of 30 years, 2 daughters and 3 sons.

Oh wait, I may have gotten that story wrong. Oh yeah, the company did the opposite of what I wrote. My bad.

Sutton (then named Jordan) lost her job and was subjected to a serious of threats. Finally, when police came to take her away from the plant she was working at, she wrote the word “Union” on a piece of cardboard- just like in the film- stood up on her work station and slowly turned around. Her fellow workers turned their machines off in a sign of solidarity and shortly thereafter the ACTWU won the right to represent the textile workers.

So, nice job Reaper. Seems the only time politicians and lobbyists work sweat shop hours its to take away the hard won rights of workers. And now today as labor is dying, you take away the woman who was the inspiration for Norma Rae. Usually, you are not that symbolic.

Here’s a symbol for you. (I’m giving the computer screen the finger.)

Crystal Lee Sutton, RIP.

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1 comment:

Invisible Woman said...

Wonderful respect.