NC marks union period with historic marker

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is honoring a period of labor organizing in the tobacco industry in the 1940s with a highway marker.

The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker will be dedicated to workers involved in the efforts to unionize tobacco warehouses Saturday at First Calvary Baptist Church, 401 Woodland Ave. in Winston-Salem.

Black women who were the main leaf workers in the Winston-Salem tobacco industry formed the United Tobacco Workers Local 22. They began with a sit-down strike on June 17, 1943, at an R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Local 22's efforts foundered during the Cold War era. The last collective bargaining agreement was reached on June 7, 1947. A National Labor Relations Board ruling stripped the union of its rights to represent workers in 1950.

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