“That’s the point of the movie!” Barr explains. “We’re at a moment of crisis in this country, and here’s this story about people who hang in there. I’ve never had such a great response to a documentary before. It took 14 years to show you how f***ed up the system is.
“I had to draw from the courage of the workers who were in there being bullied and intimidated,” he continues. “Just a bunch of gutsy people who fought it out for 16 years.”
At his desk, Barr is planning the screenings for Union Time. There’s one this week at Bennett College, where the Rev. Johnson will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening. He just showed the film to the National Labor Relations Board last week in Washington, DC, and is organizing other screenings at Cornell University, UCLA and Wake Forest University.
He’s on the phone now with Ronnie Simmons, one of the workers who became a steward and, later, an organizer for the UFCW, trying to entice her to come to the WFY screening.
“I know it’s a long ride from Lumberton,” he’s saying, “but maybe we’ll go out to get a bite to eat afterward, and they’ll put you up in a nice hotel room.”
“I’ll tell you,” he says, “the people in DC ate it up.”
“They want to destroy everything!” he says. “This is the fight we’re into now with this movie. It’s like, look at what these guys did. It’s a huge achievement.”
“I think they got caught up in the story,” he says. “They wanted the good guys to win. And they did win.”
After the call, he thinks for a moment.
“The coalition built for that fight,” he says, is the coalition coming together now for the fight.”