Norma Rae



Norma Rae

This movie is probably one of
the most powerful tools the labor movement will ever have. Norma Rae (Sally Field) is a southern textile worker employed in a factory with intolerable working conditions.
This bad situation gives her the determination to unionize the factory helped by union organizer Reuben Warshawky (Ron Leibman) .

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Union organizer Reuben Warshawky
ddresses Plant Workers about unionizing
the textile industry


On October 8th, 1970, my grandfather, Isaac Abraham Warshawky, aged 87, died in his sleep in New York city. On the following Friday morning, his funeral was held. My mother and father attended. My two uncles from Brooklyn attended. My aunt Minnie came up from Florida. Also present were 862 members of Amalgamated Clothing Workers and the Cloth, Hat and Cap Makers Union of America ... also members of his family.

In death, as in life, they stood at his side. They had fought battles with him, had bound the wounds of battle with him, had earned bread together and had broken it together. And when they spoke, they spoke in one voice and they were heard. And they were black and they were white and they were Irish and they were Polish and they were Catholic and they were Jews ... and they were one. That's what a union is: one.

Ladies and gentlemen, the textile industry in which you are spending your lives and your substance, and in which your children and their children will spend their lives and their substance, is the only industry in the whole length and breadth of these United States of America that is not unionized. Therefore, they are free to exploit you, to lie to you, to cheat you and to take away from you what is rightfully yours: your health, a decent wage, a fit place to work.  

I would urge you to stop them by coming over to Room 31 at the Golden Cherry motel and pick up a union card and sign it.

Yes, it comes from the Bible, according to the tribes of your fathers: "Ye shall inherit." But it comes from Reuben Warshawky: Not unless you make it happen.

Thank you.

aged 87:
87 years old (de 87 años); in his sleep: while he was sleeping (mientras dormía o descansaba); was held: was arranged (llevar a cabo un hecho); attended = assisted, were present (estuvieron presentes, asistieron); amalgamated: joined together (unidos); stand/stood/stood/standing: support (acompañar, permanecer); fight/fought/fought/fighting: make labored efforts (luchar, pelear); bind/bound/bound/binding: bandage (vendar, curar con vendajes); wounds of battle = injures from war (heridas de guerra); earn/earned/earned/earning: acquire (ganar, adquirir); Irish: from Ireland (irlandeses); Polish: from Poland (polacos); Catholic: supporting Catholicism (católicos); Jews: supporting Judaism (judíos); breadth = width (ancho); unionized: belonging to a labor union (gremializado/a); therefore = as a consequence (por lo tanto); exploit: manipulate (explotar, manipular); to lie: not to tell the truth (mentir); to cheat: to deceive (engañar); take away (from) = remove (quitar); rightfully: by right (por derecho propio); wage = salary (salario, sueldo); fit = adequate (adecuado); urge = recommend (recomendar); pick up: collect (pasar a buscar, recoger); sign: write your name on (firmar); according to = in accordance with (de acuerdo con); tribes: group of people related by blood (tribus, ancestros); Ye shall inherit = You shall inherit (Heredarás); not unless = not before (no sin antes); you make it happen = you make it a fact (ustedes lo hagan realidad).

Film info



A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her manufacturing plant despite the problems and dangers involved.


Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman, Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley, Gail Strickland, Morgan Paull, Robert Broyles, John Calvin, Booth Colman, Lee de Broux, James Luisi, Vernon Weddle, Gilbert Green, Bob Minor.


Martin Ritt - Produced in 1979


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