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Norma Case

A story of “Casey at the bat” is the story of the life of Mrs. Norma Case, business agent for the Laundry Workers Union, Local 66. Doubly fitting is her nickname of “Slus Casey,” for baseball is her hobby and she likes nothing better than a “good fight.” But unlike the mighty Casey, who struck out with the bases loaded, Mrs. Case has never “struck out” on anyone when they were in a tight spot.

Mrs. Case, a native of Savannah, Georgia, belies the southern conception of being easy-going. She is in her early thirties, attractive and athletic, slender with sparkling brown eyes and black hair slightly tinged with gray. A good speaker, she impresses her audience whether it consists of one or one thousand. She is know as a fighter from start to finish with a tenacious grip and a “never say die” spirit. The mother of a 14-year-old son, Douglas James, who attends Charlotte High School, Mrs. Case is interested in travelling and has been in every state in the union. She says, “my life consists of my work, my son and my hobbies, baseball and travelling.”

She has worked as a waitress, has owned a restaurant, and has been active in labor since 1923 when she worked for the Swiss Laundry.

Mrs. Case first became prominent in labor when, in 1936, she was elected to the vice-presidency of the Laundry Workers Union, Local 66, which was at that time affiliated with the Dye House Workers.

The CIO organized the Neat Laundry in 1937, where she was employed at the time, and she was made shop chairman, attending but two meetings of the CIO. Mrs. Case then became acquainted with Dan Kelly, president of the Teamsters’ Joint Council, who introduced her to Henry D. O’Connell, president of the Central Trades and Labor Council. With their aid, she switched the Neat Laundry over to AFL, which it has been ever since.

Noticing her work in labor circles, Harry Brennan, organizer at that time for the AFL, appointed her to his office to handle the laundry workers.

In 1937, she was unanimously elected to the office of business agent for the Laundry Workers Union, Local 66, on a two-year contract, expiring in November.

Henry D. O’Connell, in 1938, appointed her to the Laundry Workers Minimum Wage Board in New York City, the only wage board that guarantees its workers a minimum weekly rate.

In October of 1938, as a result of her excellent work in the local labor movement, she was appointed district organizer and eastern representative of the Laundry Workers International Union.

Despite her numerous activities, she has found time to be a rabid baseball fan and is quite an expert on the subject. When asked what she thought of Rochester Red Wings’ chances of winning the pennant, she said, “with Billy Southworth at the helm, the Red Wings are a cinch to win the International League pennant and the Little World’s Series.”