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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 >>

Issues of job security during the Great Depression

One of the reasons Glenn hesitated to change jobs during her early years in the mills was that she went to work during the Great Depression. As long as the Depression continued, she knew there were more workers than there were jobs. Nevertheless, when the man she rode to work with stopped going to the Plaid mill, Glenn had to find a new job, and so she went to work in the mill with her husband.

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:
Was work in the plaid mill any different from work down at Swepsonville or other places where you worked?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, not a whole lot of difference. It was at a time when you had to work awfully hard, because there was always somebody standing at the gate waiting for a job. And it looked like every time you got where you could keep a job up, they'd just add a little bit more to it. And you was always in a hole, trying to catch up. I don't know if you've ever been like that or not. You'll think, "Now I'll do this, and I'll be caught up; now I'll do this, and I'll be caught up; now I know I'm going to be caught up in just a minute." But at the end of your eight hours, you're just as far behind as you were to start with.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were you working every day during that time period?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, most of the time I was working five days. The mill was running six days, but they just wouldn't let you have any overtime. You had to rest all day.
CLIFF KUHN:
Do you remember when someone threw dynamite into the plaid mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That was before I went to work over there.
CLIFF KUHN:
I think it was in '34. Do you remember anything about that '34 strike, any of the activity that went on there?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
That was at the Pioneer Plant. I don't know too much about that. I do remember hearing about them dynamiting over there and their having right much trouble, but I never did work at the Pioneer Plant. The plaid mill was Burlington Mills at that time, but it hadn't been but a short while.
CLIFF KUHN:
As far as you could tell from the people whom you worked with, did it change when Burlington came in?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I never did work for it when it wasn't Burlington Mills.
CLIFF KUHN:
Who was the supervisor at the plaid mill at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Walt Edmond was over the preparation. I don't remember who was the superintendent.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was Mr. Copeland or Mr. Williams?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Mr. Copeland had already gone to Swepsonville, and Mr. Williams followed Mr. Copeland, but I don't remember who was the super at that time.
CLIFF KUHN:
Was there ever any change between supervisors? Were some better than others?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
In the departments, yes. Each supervisor had his system.
CLIFF KUHN:
What kind of work were you doing?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
I was working on twisters.
CLIFF KUHN:
How did that work compare to ...
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
You put up however many ends of yarns you wanted twisted together, and then it comes down and twists it and runs it on a spool.
CLIFF KUHN:
And you left there in '41?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, I left for good in '41. [Laughter] My ride quit and I had no way to ride. And they had already asked me down at Swepsonville. I had moved to Swepsonville from down in the country, and they had sent over there a couple of times for me to come and talk to the overseer.
CLIFF KUHN:
Because you were known as a good worker?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Well ... [Laughter] Not too good, I don't guess, but regular. [Laughter]
CLIFF KUHN:
Was your husband working at Swepsonville at that time?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. That's the only place he ever worked, except I think he worked a month at the Pioneer Plant and got laid off.
CLIFF KUHN:
And went back to Swepsonville.
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Went back to Swepsonville.
CLIFF KUHN:
So then you went to work in Swepsonville, during the War?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, I used to work at Swepsonville, and I worked there till they closed in '70.
CLIFF KUHN:
And that was the last place you worked?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, I went to Cannon and worked.
CLIFF KUHN:
Cannon in Graham?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes. I worked on warp mills down there.