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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Basic security of employment at White's precluded the urge to unionize

The basic sense of security among White's employees meant that for the sixteen years Jones spent there, there was little talk of unionization. Jones describes relatively paltry compensation, however—a slim insurance plan and a wage low enough to require workers to hold another part time job to supplement it.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. 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

JEFF COWIE:
Throughout your sixteen years was their any talk of unionization in the plant?
IVEY C. JONES:
I think at one particular point there was talk of a union before I went there, when White's owned it; but I think it was such an anarchy about that it was completely swept under the rug and quickly forgotten about. I have heard some of the older people at White's talk about it, and at one time having a meeting. There was such a big mess about it they just swept it under the rug, and it never was brought up again. The sixteen years that I was there, there was no talk of a union. I don't think anybody had been approached in the plant about unionizing or anything like that. When it was White's, basically everybody just felt their jobs were secure. The bills were being paid. There was no need in raising a stink, just let things go on as it is.
JEFF COWIE:
A guy could raise a family on a wage from White's?
IVEY C. JONES:
You would have to have a part-time job.
JEFF COWIE:
In addition?
IVEY C. JONES:
Yes. I guess that depends. If you didn't have that many bills, if you didn't have that many financial obligations, yes, you could raise at family. But if you had financial obligations--especially with the economy like it is--now you had to have something else. Even if you were making a decent wage but you have a house payment, a car payment, and a family to raise, you needed some supplement to your income. I guess that's the way half of the people in the United States are now. I was listening to the news the other day where they were speaking about some statistics where so many families are working two jobs. I guess that depends on how much you want out of life and how hard you want to work. Because you definitely need some supplement to your income. That's my personal feeling with any job you go to, especially if you want to pay off some of your financial obligations early to get yourself situated for retirement.
JEFF COWIE:
After the buy out you were still looking at nine dollars an hour tops for a production worker, more or less?
IVEY C. JONES:
Right. I would say basically nine dollars an hour.
JEFF COWIE:
You said you got insurance. Was that health insurance?
IVEY C. JONES:
Right. I think that about twenty dollars a week for family coverage. That included you, your wife, and your kids. There was no dental insurance.
JEFF COWIE:
No retirement plan?
IVEY C. JONES:
There was a retirement plan, but I couldn't consider that a retirement plan because you couldn't retire off of that. They had this program set up where it was named Retirement Program, but it wasn't feasible to retire on. I mean, basically you couldn't retire on that. Some of the people maybe would draw thirty, forty, fifty dollars a month retirement. You can't live off that as far as retirement goes. No, retirement on forty or fifty dollars a month, I mean, those retirement figures are from the days back in the 20s and 30s, I would think, not in the 80s and 90s.