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Posts Tagged ‘news’

Norma Rae Dead at age 60

September 14th, 2009 2 comments

Crystal Lee Sutton the inspiration of Sally Field’s Character in a 1979 movie Norma Rae has died at age 68.  It is reported that Sutton died from brain cancer in the Burlington Hospice Home in Burlington, North Carolina.

According to Sutton herself in an article from Facing South the health insurer delayed treatment.

Read the Facing South article for more information about her treatment and history as a labor activist.

Real ‘Norma Rae’ dies of cancer after insurer delayed treatment

The North Carolina union organizer who was the inspiration for the movie “Norma Rae” died on Friday of brain cancer after a battle with her insurance company, which delayed her treatment. She was 68.

Crystal Lee Sutton, formerly Crystal Lee Jordan, was fired from her job folding towels at the J.P. Stevens textile plant in her hometown of Roanoke Rapids, N.C. for trying to organize a union in the early 1970s. Her last action at the plant — writing the word “UNION” on a piece of cardboard and standing on her work table, leading her co-workers to turn off their machines in solidarity — was memorialized in the 1979 film by actress Sally Field. The police physically removed Sutton from the plant for her action.

But her efforts ultimately succeeded, as the Amalgamated Clothing Workers won the right to represent the plant’s employees on Aug. 28, 1974. Sutton later became a paid organizer for the union, which through a series of mergers became part of UNITE HERE before splitting off this year to form Workers United, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.

Several years ago, Sutton was diagnosed with meningioma, a type of cancer of the nervous system. While such cancers are typically slow-growing, Sutton’s was not — and she went two months without potentially life-saving medication because her insurance wouldn’t cover it initially. Sutton told the Burlington (N.C.) Times-News last year that the insurer’s behavior was an example of abuse of the working poor:

“How in the world can it take so long to find out [whether they would cover the medicine or not] when it could be a matter of life or death,” she said. “It is almost like, in a way, committing murder.”

Though Sutton eventually received the medication, the cancer had already taken hold. She passed away on Friday, Sept. 11 in a Burlington, N.C. hospice.

“Crystal Lee Sutton was a remarkable woman whose brave struggles have left a lasting impact on this country and without doubt, on me personally,” Field said in a statement released Friday. “Portraying Crystal Lee in ‘Norma Rae,’ however loosely based, not only elevated me as an actress, but as a human being.”

Field won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal of the character based on Sutton. The film in turn was based on the 1975 book “Crystal Lee: A Woman of Inheritance” by New York Times reporter Henry P. “Hank” Leiferman.

Sutton was only 17 when she began working at the J.P. Stevens plant in northeastern North Carolina, where conditions were poor and the pay was low. A Massachusetts-based company that for many years was listed on the Fortune 500, J.P. Stevens is now part of the WestPoint Home conglomerate.

In 1973, Sutton, by then a mother of three, was earning only $2.65 an hour. That same year, Eli Zivkovich, a former coal miner from West Virginia, came to Roanoke Rapids to organize the plant and began working with Sutton, who was fired after she copied a flyer posted by management warning that blacks would run the union. It was that incident which led Sutton to stand up with her “UNION” sign.

“It is not necessary I be remembered as anything, but I would like to be remembered as a woman who deeply cared for the working poor and the poor people of the U.S. and the world,” she said in a newspaper interview last year. “That my family and children and children like mine will have a fair share and equality.”

For more on Sutton’s life and work, visit the website of the Alamance Community College’s Crystal Sutton Collection.

Categories: employment, news Tags: , ,

Paul Harvey Dead at 90

February 28th, 2009 No comments
Image from abcrn.com/harvey/

Image from abcrn.com/harvey/

“The rest of the story” we now know that 70 year radio legend Paul Harvey has died according to the Harvey family and CNN.com.

I have been a long time fan of Paul Harvey and sad to see one of the greatest radio host ever pass.

Legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey dies

(CNN) — Paul Harvey, the legendary radio host whose career sharing “the rest of the story” with listeners spanned more than 70 years, has died, according to ABC Radio Networks.

Paul Harvey receives the Medal of Freedom from President George Bush in 2005.

He was 90.

Known for his deliberate delivery and pregnant pauses, Harvey’s broadcasts were heard on over 1,200 radio stations and 400 Armed Forces networks and his commentaries appeared in 300 newspapers, according to his Web site.

He had been hosting his radio shows part-time for much of the past year, after recovering from physical ailments including pneumonia and the death of his wife, Lynne “Angel” Harvey in May 2008.

“My father and mother created from thin air what one day became radio and television news,” said Harvey’s son, Paul Harvey Jr., in a written statement. “So, in the past year, an industry has lost its godparents and today millions have lost a friend.”

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harvey began his radio career in 1933 at KVOO-AM there while he was still in high school, his Web site says. He helped clean the station and was eventually was allowed to fill in on air, reading news and commercials.

“Paul Harvey was one of the most gifted and beloved broadcasters in our nation’s history,” ABC Radio Networks President Jim Robinson said in a written statement. “As he delivered the news each day with his own unique style and commentary, his voice became a trusted friend in American households.”

The statement did not give details about Harvey’s death.

Categories: Father, news Tags: , , , , ,

Caroline Kennedy to Take Clinton’s Seat

December 5th, 2008 1 comment

Just when you thought an era of Kennedy’s and Clinton’s was coming to an end it is being Reported that Caroline Kennedy is to take Senator Hiliary Clinton’s New York Senate seat.

NY Governor David Paterson has the task of appointing Clinton’s replacement.  If you remember Gov. Paterson replaced the embattled Elliot Spitzer after the prostitution scandal.

Read about Speculation about Caroline Kennedy’s appointment to the US Senate.  It isn’t so far fetched as ABC, the Boston Channel, and CNN are all buzzing about the News.

US missile strike in Pakistan

November 19th, 2008 No comments

Official’s in Pakistan are reporting that unmanned aircraft flown from US Military bases in Afghanistan are the root of strikes on a Village in Pakistan according to an AP News article on Yahoo.

Officials report US missile strike in Pakistan

By MUNIR AHMAD, Associated Press Writer Munir Ahmad
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A suspected U.S. missile strike hit a village well inside Pakistani territory Wednesday, killing at least six alleged militants in an attack that could raise tensions between the anti-terror allies, officials said.

The missile struck a house in Bannu district, which is a part of northwest Pakistan where al-Qaida and Taliban have found refuge, but does not directly border Afghanistan.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said their agents reported foreigners from Central Asia were among the dead. The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

The U.S. is blamed in around 20 missile strikes in northwest Pakistan since mid-August against al-Qaida and Taliban militants blamed for rising attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The missiles are believed fired from unmanned planes launched in Afghanistan, where some 32,000 U.S. troops are fighting the Taliban and other militants.

Pakistan has loudly protested the strikes as violations of its sovereignty, but the attacks have not stopped, leading to speculation by some analysts the two nations have a secret deal on the attacks.

All the attacks since August have been in villages in north and South Waziristan, two semiautonomous tribal regions where the government has a very limited presence.

Bannu is considered a “settled area”, which means it falls under the control of the regional government, and as such Monday’s attack could provoke more anger among by Pakistan’s leaders. It begins roughly 18 miles from the frontier.

Pakistan has insisted it does not get advance warning of such attacks and has demanded the U.S. share intelligence and let Pakistan go after targets on its own.

The United States rarely confirms or denies the strikes, which are believed to be carried out by CIA.

Even as the strikes have picked up, U.S officers in Afghanistan have stressed improved day-to-day Pakistani cooperation in squeezing militants nested along both sides of the lengthy, porous border.

U.S. military officials said troops in Afghanistan coordinated with Pakistan on Sunday in shelling insurgents inside Pakistan who were launching rockets at the foreign troops. Pakistan’s official statement on the matter referred only to militant activity in Afghanistan.

In the past month, NATO and Pakistan also have cooperated in so-called Operation Lion Heart — a series of complementary operations that involve Pakistani army and paramilitary troops, and NATO on the Afghan side, said Col. John Spiszer, U.S. commander in northeast Afghanistan.

“What we have done is worked very hard to refocus our … intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance assets to do everything we can to identify transiting across the border,” he told a Pentagon news conference in Washington on Tuesday.

Commanders hope pressure on both sides of the border will eventually mean militants will be “running out of options on places to go,” Spiszer said.

U.S. officials also have praised Pakistani military offensives against militants in its border region, including an operation in the Bajur tribal area that the army says has killed more than 1,600 alleged insurgents.

Besides questions of sovereignty, Pakistani officials say the U.S. missile strikes are counterproductive because they often kill civilians and deepen anti-American and anti-government sentiment along the border.

But U.S. Gen. David Petraeus has defended them, saying at least three top extremist leaders, whom he did not identify, have been killed in recent months in the attacks.