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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Life in the mills

When the unions tried to enter her mill, Glenn resisted them because she thought they would make her job more difficult than it was. She also denies any pay difference between men's and women's work, saying that everyone who worked the same job earned the same amount, though the highly skilled jobs paid the most. She returns to the gendered division of labor at the end of the interview.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CLIFF KUHN:
What kind of work was he doing?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
He worked in the cloth room in the finishing.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was there any difference in terms of the pay between what you got and what he got?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Not on the same job. If you worked on the same job, you got the same pay.
CLIFF KUHN:
Within the cotton mill at Virginia Mills, were there some jobs that were considered better jobs than other jobs?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
What they considered skilled labor, they made more. Weaving and any kind of fixing was considered skilled, and slashers (that's preparing the warps for the loom). That's considered a good job. It's nerve-wracking, but it pays good.
CLIFF KUHN:
I want to know a little bit more about the Depression and also about the unions that tried to come in.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They never did get in anyplace that I worked, and they never did have any trouble except verbal.
CLIFF KUHN:
What, exactly, happened? During what years did the unions try to come in?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Down at Virginia Mills, they tried to come in in the early fifties. They thought they had it made that time until the voting came off, and they were beat three-to-one. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you working at Virginia at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. They didn't have any trouble other than verbal. There was a lot of hard feeling.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why did some people support the union and other people opposed it?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. It's like that always in textiles, when some comes in, some people's for it and some are not.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why were you against it?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I was against it because they had it down in Haw River, and the kind of work that I was doing, I had heard so much about how hard the girls had to work that worked on that kind of job.
CLIFF KUHN:
Because of the union?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Because of the union. You'd have to come up to their standards. And we worked just about like we wanted to, as long as we stayed at work.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you in touch with other people who did the same kind of work that you did in other communities around the county?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did you get to know people from other towns?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
A lot of people in textile mills--I didn't, as long as I had work--come and go. They're more or less on a cycle.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why do you think that is?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. They're not like that as a whole, but a lot of them are. They're dissatisfied, you might say, restless.
CLIFF KUHN:
About what?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I don't know. They just go somewhere and work a while, and if everything don't go just like they think it should, why, they walk out.