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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Dora Scott Miller, June 6, 1979. Interview H-0211. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Few benefits for workers at Liggett and Myers

Detailing a workplace that offered its workers few benefits, Miller recalls that Liggett and Myers offered little insurance, that pregnant women were fired upon discovery, and that unlike foremen, workers did not get vacation time aside from a single week-long period when her employers closed the factory.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Dora Scott Miller, June 6, 1979. Interview H-0211. 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

BEVERLY JONES:
While working in the factory in the 20's and 30's, were you ever given any type of benefits?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Nothing. Nothing but just a little insurance and that was—when you pay, that's when you passed. We didn't have no hospital insurance. Hospital insurance didn't come about till some years later. No benefits, nothing but just a little insurance when you was deceased. I think got around three or four hundred dollars to start with. It's now up in the thousands.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you recall pregnant women working in the factory?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Yes, pregnant women worked in the factory. This child what singing, right now her mother got crooked feet—Shirley—her mother used to work up there pregnant. She carried Shirley workin' right up there in that factory.
BEVERLY JONES:
Shirley Ceasar's mother worked up there.
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Mother—with them crooked feet. Yeah, they worked up there, but they wouldn't let them work long. Soon as they found out you was pregnant, you had to quit.
BEVERLY JONES:
So that means a pregnant woman, unless she kept it disguised…
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Kept it disguised, she couldn't work; they put you out.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now would she be able to be re-hired back?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Yes, they'd take them back if they felt like it. If they didn't, they didn't take them back. If they liked them, they'd take them back; if they didn't like them, they didn't take them back.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did you ever receive any type of vacation time?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
No, no vacation was even mentioned. The foremans all had vacation; nobody else got no vacation. It was years—way over in the 30's—before they begin havin' vacation. When they first started, they closed down for a week. Then after that, they would let you have a vacation. You'd put in for your vacation and get so many days later. Everybody wouldn't go at the same time, 'cause they didn't close the plant down.