Standing Tall, Women Unionize the Catfish Industry (2001)

07 May
Run Time: 50min.
Produced, written and directed by Donald Blank
The boom in Mississippi catfish farming, in the 1980’s, required processing plants and hundreds of workers. The mostly black female workforce had to work, in noisy and wet factories for minimum wage, without any benefits, bathroom breaks or recourse if a worker was mistreated. The Mississippi Delta, at the time, was notoriously poor, neglected, and resistant to change.This historical documentary chronicles the risky and difficult effort of a few women working at Delta Pride Catfish to organize a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 1529 at their plant. The 1986 union election victory surprised many locals, especially management at Delta Pride. In 1990, the workers at Delta Pride struck for two months and won better wages and working conditions. The strike established local 1529 as an important player in the catfish industry, with a membership today of 3,000 workers.

Rose Turner, Mary Young and Sarah White, who initiated and led local 1529, tell the story with passion and humor.

available from Filmakers Library



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