Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill

A woman crouches between two looms in March of 1959.

Fulton Bag and Cotton was able to recover from the 1914-1915 Strike and returned to routine business.  Business increased for the Cotton Mill as more and more textile manufacturing was moving to the Southern states over the course of this period.  In 1932 Jacob Elsas the founder of the mill passed away.  

The next time a dispute between the mill workers and mill ownership arose was in 1934. In 1934 textile workers struck throughout the nation and Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill was no exception to this nationwide strike.  The roots of the strike lay in the creation of a Textile Code that grew out of the National Industrial Recovery Act's mandate to create industrial codes for various industries.  This creation of a code dealing with industrial practices in the textile industry gave many textile workers the hope that the law, for once, was on their side.

Part of the Textile Code stated that workers had the right to organize.  This part of the code was ignored in the South and many workers found their jobs in peril if they join the United Textile Workers of America (UTWA) or any union.  This inability to organize combined with poor wages and less than optimal working conditions lead the UTWA to call a general strike on September 3, 1934.  Workers at Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill joined the strike with workers from Exposition Mills and other Atlanta area mills. The state of Georgia felt so threatened by the strike that Governor Talmadge declared martial law.

 The strike lasted until September 18, 1934 when the Federal Government came down on the side of mill owners.  This victory for the textile mill owners helped to reinforce the anti-labor polices of the Southern States through the rest of the 20th century.

The Cotton Mill continued through the 1940s and 1950s providing the Mill Village with the continued reason for its existence.  In the late 1940s and early 1950s shifts in the types of bags people used signaled a change for the Cotton Mill.  In spite of this the mill continued to expand with an addition added in 1952. 

Even with the expansion of the plant changes during this decade fundamentally shifted workers relationship to the Cotton Mill.  One of the changes that occurred in the 1950s surrounded the company housing.  In response to national polices encouraging home ownership the Cotton Mill sold 196 of its company homes in 1956.  Over 90% of these homes were purchased by the Cotton Mill employees. The final change that occurred in the 1950s was that the Elsas family sold their controlling interest in the company.  The family sold their shares in 1956, in response to the economic problems plaguing the textile industry.  While the Elsas family was no longer majority stakeholder, a member of the family would remain in power as the president of the company until 1968.