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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Zelma Montgomery Murray, March 4, 1976. Interview H-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Working conditions fluctuate with market conditions

Zelma Murray talks about working at Brown's hosiery and getting profit sharing during the good years and facing production speed-ups during the economically lean years.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Zelma Montgomery Murray, March 4, 1976. Interview H-0034. 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

BRENT GLASS:
When you retired from Brown's Hosiery did you have any insurance policy or any pension or anything like that?
ZELMA MONTGOMERY MURRAY:
Yes, they had a small retirement fund. We didn't pay any in it; the company gave it to us. It was what they called their profit-sharing. If they had a good year, why that would be more to go into our profit-sharing. It wasn't no great amount, but they give it to us all. They'd give it to you in a lump sum. It wasn't no great big amount, but it was just real nice that they gave it to us. But you had to be there five years before. . . . They didn't have that when I went to Brown's, and they started it after I went to Brown's. But you had to be there five years when they started it, for you to be eligible to be in it. I hadn't been there quite five years when they started it. They had some bad years while I was there and it didn't build it up too much. But I appreciated what I did get.
BRENT GLASS:
Did they try to speed you up in production when they had the bad years?
ZELMA MONTGOMERY MURRAY:
Oh yes, we was on production. I was on production part of the time; part of my work was on production. Yes, they expected you to get production. And if you didn't get production they'd have to pay you for what you were supposed to be making. And if you didn't get it they didn't talk ugly to you about it. They would just say, "Well, I see we had to pay you so-and-so." The boss-lady would come and tell you, "I see from my report that they had to pay you so-and-so. Is there any cause for it? Why did you fall back this week?" And you would tell her if there was something that happened and you didn't get it. She'd write it down and she'd say, "Well, let's see if you can't pull it back up." And that's all they did to us.
BRENT GLASS:
They wouldn't discipline you?
ZELMA MONTGOMERY MURRAY:
No.