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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979. Interview H-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Assessing the impact of unions on worker pay and treatment

While Sigmon gives unions credit for securing wage increases, he does not like the idea of working under one because he thinks it would add another layer of rules to follow. As he reflects on some employers who seemed to have particular trouble with unions, he shares his belief that a dwindling labor market is forcing employers to treat their employees better, regardless of union interference.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979. Interview H-0142. 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

PATTY DILLEY:
What do you think about unions, back then and now?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
I believe they contributed some about getting the textile wages up. But as far as working under a union, I don't believe I'd ever like it.
PATTY DILLEY:
What do you think you wouldn't like about it?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
The union has got laws, too, to go by, and if I'm working with the plant, I just don't feel like I can satisfy both of them.
PATTY DILLEY:
It would be like a second boss or something.
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. And rules of the union. So if I'd see something that I could help the company out, I would do it. And I don't know whether the union would agree with that or not. We never did have no big hassle over unions down there. Once or twice while I was working there I think they tried to unionize it, but they voted it down.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why do you think the Shufords had so much problems with …
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Shufords' was pretty hard on their help back then. They say it now, but I never did work for them only just for that reason. But they're a good company to work for, I think, now, from what I've been working for them. I worked at two of their plants. I worked some out here, at Quaker Meadows, and at Granite Number Two Plant, and over at Dudley Shoals. And I wouldn't want to work for no better people. There you got freedom, but they, everyone expect you to keep your job up. I think if you just lay out in the canteen room and go back and your job would be all tore to pieces and you wouldn't care about straightening it out if something was wrong, you can't blame a company for that. As long as you do your work for Shuford, I… They say they used to be harder than they. Textile help may be a little bit harder to get, too, now than it used to be back then. High school graduates coming up don't look for jobs like that any more.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you think they're having to be better to get the quality help?
MURPHY YOMEN SIGMON:
Yes. If they can finish school, they want better jobs, in an office of a textile plant or something like that. But as far as going and taking a job, they don't look for no jobs like that.