Peaceful picketers attempt to prevent man from going to work at the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill

The  handwriting on this photograph notes that the picketers are attempting to peacefully dissuade another man from going to work in the Cotton Mill.

On May 20th, the workers of Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, led by leadership from the United Textile Workers of America (UTWA), walked out over issues surrounding dismissal of  union members and the unwillingness of management to recognize Local 886 of the UTWA.   As the UTWA looked to establish a foothold in the Cotton Mill.  Oscar Elsas, the president of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, looked to remove members of the union and union organizers from the payroll.  This was done using spies on the shop floor.  These labor spies combined with the fine system lead to the conditions where the strike was called. The main impact of the strike was felt in the male dominated weave rooms, where the loom fixers of the October 1913 strike had worked .

By June tensions had increased as Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill began to evict striking workers from their company housing.  In spite of this action the strikers were unwilling to back down from their demands.  The action taken by mill ownership increased tensions between management and ownership on one side and the labor force on the other side.  Photography was used by UTWA to try and create public sympathy for the strikers by showing the eviction of striking workers from company housing and conditions at the tent village homeless strikers moved into.

The strikers and mill owners continued to battle through 1914 and in 1915.  While the union tried to organize an effective strike, Oscar Elsas and Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill were eventually able to weaken their efforts.  One reason for this was the available cheap labor pool in Atlanta which allowed Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill’s ownership to replace striking workers as well of the use of labor spies by Elsas and the Cotton Mil to counteract strikers’ plans.  The strike ended in May of 1915 without achieving the goals of the workers.  However, in the period after this the Cotton Mill worked to create more stable workforce that was loyal to the mill.  Many details of the strike were hidden in the safes of the Cotton Mill until the building was sold in the mid-1980s.