Yates Heafner, Betty Hinson, and Laurie Rushmeyer Interviews

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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GEORGE STONEY: Gossip. I like to use the word “gossip,” OK?

YATES HEAFNER: OK. Well, that’s what I used when I wasn’t sure of something, but --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah --

HEAFNER: -- I pick up something.

GEORGE STONEY: We haven’t heard that yet.

HEAFNER: Yeah.

JUDITH HELFAND: Can you say “gossip” and then read from there?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HEAFNER: Gossip?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, Walter Taylor, and then gossip, and then down to Belmont.

HEAFNER: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, this is one of those periodic reports you sent to -- back to headquarters.

HEAFNER: Yeah, yeah, uh-huh. I don’t remember it, but I know it’s my -- sounds like me, anyhow.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. How does it read?

HEAFNER: “Walter C. Taylor, Texas Labor Relations Board, Washington, DC. In Belmont --”

GEORGE STONEY: How did you head that?

1:00

HEAFNER: “Gossip.” (laughter) Head “Gossip” --

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HEAFNER: -- that’s right. That’s right. In other words, that’s what I picked up when I was in the vicinity in someone. “In Belmont, North Carolina, it is openly expressed by employees, talked with, that Secretary Perkins is the best friend of the working man, that if she and Roosevelt had their way even further improvements of labor conditions would be had. Most mills in the vicinity now are running more closely with code provisions than at any previous time, which they credit, to a great extent, the close scrutiny being given by government.” I see that was dated May 3rd, 1935. The TLRB was still in existence, wasn’t it?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: That’s right. Yep.

2:00

GEORGE STONEY: OK, now here is the week ending May the 11th. “Here with a list of complaints at hand for investigation,” and you must have -- oh my goodness, look at all of those complaints that you had. How did you get around to all of them?

HEAFNER: I drove about 75,000 miles a year. (laughter) That’s right. Just about.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you do all --

HEAFNER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- the driving?

HEAFNER: My wife and I, yeah. She went with me well on these local mills, uh...Yeah, you went with me most of the time, didn’t you, Billie?

BILLIE: Oh, some of the time, honey, not --

HEAFNER: Some of the time.

BILLIE: -- not like one (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) --

HEAFNER: All these local mills --

BILLIE: -- long trips.

HEAFNER: -- and these local mills, no, not much. I generally, uh, go by myself, um...Um...boy, I checked ’em off, by [granny?]. That’s a lot of ’em. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, here’s a letter that we’re interested in, because we’ve met some relatives of the man involved there, Mr. Lester Cook. You 3:00might start to read that letter.

HELFAND: It’s interesting, also, that on that prior sheet with all the lists of mills, you had visited his mill a number of times.

HEAFNER: Yeah. Let’s see...What’s that, Crown? No, that’s just -- I don’t know what that is. Taylor, it’s just the Board, Taylor, Texas Labor Relations Board, dear sir. “The route to Greensboro, I stopped to converse with Lester A. Cook, secretary of Local 1902, Cannon plant, Concord. Mr. Cook is also, as you probably know, Vice President of the Western Carolina Textile Council. Mr. Cook informed me that he was released immediately upon Supreme Court’s ruling that the NRA was un-Constitutional.” At least -- what does he mean by that, from the, um, Western Carolina Textile Council, or --

4:00

GEORGE STONEY: He was fired from his job.

HEAFNER: -- or from the mill? Oh, I get you. “That some six or seven other union members only,” in parentheses, “were released also. He did not have much comment to make regarding same, as he is naturally a rather quiet, mannered man, with very few harsh words, if any, in any case comparatively. Mr. Cook stated that the union membership in North Carolina had increased in the neighborhood of 15,000 since the Supreme Court’s ruling that the NRA was un-Constitutional. He stated that it was his opinion that some form of legislation would be enacted before Congress adjourned concerning the textile industry [in coach?].” Now, let me inter-- uh, -vene right there and say this: every mill I called on, regardless of who had filed the complaint, uh, 5:00were pretty well of that same opinion at that time. You’re too young to remember --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: -- but they -- most of ’em felt that way about it, that there was no power so effective as the combination that was in existence previous to the Supreme Court’s decision for the handling of complaints, that the mills in that section had not yet reduced wages and lengthened hours, but he felt that plans were being made preparatory to same, that it was their hope and trust that in some manner the present setup for handling of complaints could and would be continued. That was naturally unions, the union members, uh, your companies that were in compliance, uh...Most of ’em, uh, would express that opinion. 6:00Now, whether they hoped it would be the case or not, I don’t know. I can’t read their minds. But, um, uh --

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, here’s a letter --

HEAFNER: -- Cook -- I, I, I, I can’t hardly place Cook. I know the name, all right. I know he was a representative, and I recall the name, but I can’t -- just can’t place him in person right now.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, he was a lo-- member of a local union. Uh, he was a representative.

HEAFNER: Uh...

GEORGE STONEY: And you see, he’s -- no secretary, no typing, anything. Here’s a handwritten letter, which he wrote, uh, to C.P. Greene, uh, uh, of the union, uh, and it’s a pretty desperate letter. Maybe you’d like to read it and see if you could help us with that, because it come right after that.

HELFAND: No, he actually wrote it to [McClord?].

GEORGE STONEY: McCord, who was --

HEAFNER: McClord --

GEORGE STONEY: -- who was --

HEAFNER: -- Samuel McClord.

GEORGE STONEY: Who was he?

HEAFNER: Sam McClord.

BILLIE: Clord, McClord.

HEAFNER: He was -- he was executive assistant to, um, uh --

BILLIE: [Walter?].

7:00

HEAFNER: -- uh, to...No, he was executive assistant under TLRB, uh, Sam McClord was, and the director of TLRB was a fella, Douglas, out of Oklahoma.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: And Sam McClord was his assistant. And, in fact, he was the only man on the job, day by day. Douglas was in and out, uh, uh, like all the -- uh, a lot of executives --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HEAFNER: -- uh, in that position are.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Days after you met Mr. Cook, he wrote this letter.

HEAFNER: Uh, let me read this a minute. Yeah. Yeah. Well, now, he was -- what 8:00was he? Western Carolina? Textile Council. Yeah, I don’t remember that setup, exactly.

HELFAND: He belonged to the Local 1902, which was one of, um --

HEAFNER: Uh...

HELFAND: -- Red Lisk’s, uh, locals.

HEAFNER: Oh, uh-huh.

HELFAND: At the Gibson Mill, plant six.

HEAFNER: Mm-hmm. (pause) Uh-huh. Oh, I see. He topped that off. He wrote it in person. Yeah. You want me to read it?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, uh, if you would, please.

HEAFNER: Oh, read it?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes.

9:00

HEAFNER: Well, this is addressed to Concord, N.C., United Textile Workers of America. President’s name: C.P. Greene. Secretary name: [Malay?] Cook. Secretary’s address: [493?] Burton Avenue, Concord. Mr. Samuel R. McClord. “Dear Sir: We have waited and waited for the Board to do something for us, and they have not done anything as yet. The Cannon Mill Company, plant six, had just laid off all our union members and taken on the farmers. The farmers work in the mills and work a crop on the farm. They laid off people in company-owned houses and let them take our jobs. The people asked their bosses what they are laid off for, and they say they don’t have anything for us to do, but they don’t fail to take on the farmers. If there’s anything you can do, you 10:00better do it at once. If you don’t, the people are, are going to take, uh, the matter into their own hands. They are taking a strike Saturday, July 21st, ten o’clock.” I presume he means a strike vote. “Whenever they lay off any of us, we have to take a job on relief at 20 cents per hour. If we have a family of eight or ten, or even 12, if they -- they won’t let but one in the family work on relief. We can’t get anything but just what we work for. People are getting tired of being done this way. I want to know if the Wagner Labor Bill covers this discrimination. If so, just let us know. All people in this plant are being laid off who struck last fall in the general strike.” Boy, he, he gives you a history on it there, doesn’t he?

11:00

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: I don’t remember -- what mill did you say he worked for?

HELFAND: Plant six, Gibson Mill, Concord, Cannon.

HEAFNER: Cannon, that’s right, yeah. That’s right, number six. Yeah. I never had any, and I don’t think you’d ever find that I was in on, um, um, that case at all. I didn’t know anything about...Well, in fact, he writes direct to the Board: “I asked July 16th, ’35” -- was the Board dead at that time?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, the NR--

HEAFNER: Yeah, it was, NR-- TLRB was. Now, the Wagner Act was just...six thirty-six...No, it hadn’t passed yet. No, it had not. Well, he was still seeking relief through, uh -- from his complaint, um, through the TLRB, which 12:00was a normal thing, because, as I say, you wouldn’t believe it, but, uh, everyone, including the, uh, the manufacturers, even the ones that, uh, we had reports of violation of codes, everybody thought there’s gonna be some law passed to pick it up right away, (clears throat) and naturally the men on the job and on the Board wanted their jobs in Washington, and they liked to believe that. (laughter) Uh, that goes without saying.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HEAFNER: Uh, but, um, the workers didn’t stop, uh, just because the NRA died. We got complaints, uh, at, uh -- from those, uh, reports that Julie gave me. Uh, a lot of those were filed late in the year, after the N -- uh, TLRB was declared un-Constitutional. They didn’t stop, and they weren’t, uh, induced to stop at all. The union didn’t -- had no interest in stopping it. The 13:00companies that were, uh, hoping for continuation, uh, that their competition and -- would be kept up, uh, from the lower end, uh, were hoping it. And the general public, I think, uh, generally speaking, these all played that game, and, um, as I say, I, I got full cooperation from the trade associations, the unions, and companies, and it was almost a commonality, uh, if, if...It was the nearest a commonality we ever had, I can say that, among all groups. HELFAND: Did you ever have to deal with an eviction? Did a, uh -- did a worker ever write to you and say, “They want to throw me out of a company-owned house”? What did -- did you ever have to deal with that yourself?

HEAFNER: Nope. I, frankly, didn’t. I don’t, uh...I don’t know whether...I can’t even recall, and, uh, uh...I’m not doing it to cover up. 14:00Not one bit. I got nothing to cover up, because, uh, I was treated fairly, as far as I know, and I don’t know that any time of having been refused consultation, if I walked in, and asked, uh, to talk. Now, I might, uh...I might not have gotten all the facts in my discussions, but, uh, I don’t know that I was ever refused under TLRB. I’m satisfied I wasn’t. After TLRB, when the union was certified, we took it up, and it became our case. But if it was something like the Cannon Mills number six, for instance, uh, I read the report on -- from, uh, a bit ago. Uh, they generally went direct -- they were used to going to Washington. They’d go to, uh, Wagner Act, just as soon as it was passed. Uh --

15:00

GEORGE STONEY: Now, the interesting thing to me about that Cannon case --

HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- is that the union was not certified there --

HEAFNER: No.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and yet, Lisk and the union continued to represent those people until they got -- for four years -- so that they didn’t say, “Oh, we don’t have a contract here, so we’re gonna give up.”

HEAFNER: No, they -- I know they, they have striven, as you know, in, uh, in recent months, since Fieldcrest has come in there in, in its operations. Uh, they, they ran a pretty close election up there --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: -- not too long ago. And, uh, they, they persisted. There’s no doubt about that. But, um, Charlie Cannon was, as I say -- I’ll come back and use a quotation that you reminded me of (laughter) bit ago: he was, um, uh -- he was looked up to in the textile industry as a pretty good, uh, focal point, 16:00and, uh, someone to, uh, uh, ask questions of, and to rely on pretty well.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, finally --

HEAFNER: All right.

GEORGE STONEY: -- uh, you’ve seen, uh, all -- you’ve -- we showed you all those photographs of the big Labor Day parade in ’34.

HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: In Gastonia, and -- with the -- with thousands of people out.

HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And in Charlotte. Here’s your report of Labor Day, 1935. You might want to read that.

HEAFNER: Yeah, I read that. Uh, Julie left me a copy of that.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: Yeah, she read me a copy of that.

GEORGE STONEY: Could you read that for us, or, or give a summary to --

HEAFNER: That whole thing?

GEORGE STONEY: No, just the summary, the...

HEAFNER: What, down here, highlights?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, uh-huh. I mean, the -- it seems to me that the fact that at --

17:00

HEAFNER: Oh, the highlights in Gorman’s speech --

GEORGE STONEY: No, uh, uh --

HEAFNER: -- Francis Gorman.

GEORGE STONEY: No, just thinking up here, uh, this bit in here.

HEAFNER: Oh. Uh, that’s the Walter Taylor Textile Board. Uh, Labor Day Program, Charlotte, N.C. “UTWA Labor Day Program was held in Charlotte, N.C., in Bryant Park, on all-day program with several -- an all-day program with several speakers, and main address being made by Francis, Mr. Francis Gorman, about 11:30 a.m., offer -- after which address he immediately left for Pelzer, South Carolina, as a result of the disturbance there today, resulting in one fatality with others probable. He is to be in Gaffney, South Carolina, to speak 18:00to their meeting at 6:00 p.m.” Is that the part you want me to read?

GEORGE STONEY: No, there’s -- then go on.

HEAFNER: “There were about one to two hundred people present, which I am sure proved a disappointment to those in charge of affairs, but it was stated by those speaking -- H.D. Lisk, Paul Christopher, and Mr. Gorman -- that the mills in the vicinity were running in order, that the employees might not be able to attend this rally. They stated that many of the mills that had not run on any regular hours at all recently had been operations -- had been operating this day.” Uh, it’s “operation,” should be “operating --”

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: “-- this day. Aside from Mr. Gorman’s address, there was little that would be of interest, and in view of the fact that publication of same has 19:00not yet come from the press, I will attempt to outline briefly the substance and speech (inaudible).”

GEORGE STONEY: Now, the thing that amazes me is, you see, in ’34 you had them out by the thousands. By ’35, there were one to two hundred --

HEAFNER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- which is...

HEAFNER: Mm.

GEORGE STONEY: What would you say that indicated?

HEAFNER: You talk about out to a rally?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HEAFNER: Well, it’s hard to judge, because, as I say, at that time I had no -- in fact...Well, no, at this time that this was written, to compare that with what would’ve happened back when I had no knowledge --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: -- at all of unions or companies --

GEORGE STONEY: Right.

HEAFNER: -- had had no experience with ’em, had, uh, paid relatively little attention to, uh, the activities that, uh, uh, might -- had been brought about 20:00by either or both, uh, it’s hard for me to compare, but, um, this was September 2nd, 1935. TLRB was, was dead. Wagner Act was in effect. The unions were in the act of trying to get certified now, uh, rather than running to us with everything in the book. Um...Well, it, it, it, it, uh, it indicated, uh...I don’t know what your judgement would be, but it, it didn’t indicate a hell of a lot of interest, to be frank with you. Uh, do you think so?

21:00

GEORGE STONEY: It seems to me that it’s an indication that the air had gotten -- been let out of things, that the hopes were pretty well dashed.

HEAFNER: Frank Gorman. I’d forgotten him, by George. He would -- he didn’t remain president of that union too long, did he?

GEORGE STONEY: He was vice president then.

HEAFNER: He was vice president then, yeah. No --

GEORGE STONEY: And he led the strike.

HEAFNER: -- what’d I say, how many were present at that thing?

GEORGE STONEY: One to two hundred.

HEAFNER: Yep. There wasn’t many. And that was held out there on the grounds where WBT is right now.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right, yeah.

HEAFNER: Oh, that’s Bryant Park.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: Uh, that’s where WBT had built. Yeah, uh, uh...

HELFAND: I had one question --

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: -- before we break --

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: -- and that’s it. Um, I just need to get a, a paper --

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: -- from my...Give me one minute.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, yeah. This is the last one.

HELFAND: This is it.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: Promise.

22:00

GEORGE STONEY: I hope that, uh, you’ll allow us to have a copy of your, of your thesis when it’s done.

HEAFNER: I’ll do it if you want it.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, I’d love to, yes. All right, Judy?

JAMIE STONEY: Just give me (inaudible).

HEAFNER: Now, how long are you gonna be in this territory?

GEORGE STONEY: We’re leaving tomorrow.

HEAFNER: Oh, you’re leaving tomorrow.

GEORGE STONEY: But Judy will be back in a month.

HEAFNER: In a month.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes.

HEAFNER: Oh, well, I’ll have it -- I, I, I’ve written part of it --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HEAFNER: -- just so we’d have it edited.

HELFAND: OK. I wonder if you could take a look at this, and what I want you to do is -- those were all the investigators that we know of that were sent out after the general strike was over in 1934, sent out to deal with the grievances and, um, pick up the pieces after the strike. And I know you know some of these folks --

HEAFNER: That was bef-- that was after the NRA was declared un-Constitutional --

HELFAND: No.

HEAFNER: -- but --

BILLIE: No.

HEAFNER: No, it wasn’t.

BILLIE: No, no.

HELFAND: No, it was before.

HEAFNER: TLRB was in effect.

23:00

HELFAND: TLRB was just put into effect. It was around right after September of 1934. The strike --

HEAFNER: Yeah, I getcha.

HELFAND: -- was over. The workers went back -- well, the workers tried to go back to work.

HEAFNER: All right, now, now, now what’s your question?

HELFAND: Now, my question is: could you just paint a picture of these investigators for me? The other day you said to me, “Yeah, there was a whole bunch of us, and we were sent out all over the States.”

HEAFNER: Yeah.

HELFAND: So I’m wondering if, um, you could look down there and maybe mention Walter Tolliver, and, um --

HEAFNER: Well, Tolliver I didn’t know. He’s not the man that I thought. Uh, I don’t believe he’s the same man. He was a very prominent lawyer here in town, smart as a whip, and I don’t think he would’ve been an investigator for --

HELFAND: Well, I’ll tell you --

HEAFNER: -- TLRB.

HELFAND: -- you worked with him. I have all sorts of papers where you’re (laughter) talking about working with him, and picking up his cases, and all that kind of stuff. But maybe you could make -- I’m tell--

HEAFNER: I, I, I don’t even -- I can’t even recall the looks of him at all.

HELFAND: OK.

HEAFNER: I don’t, I don’t.

HELFAND: Maybe you could paint a general picture for me of just, yeah, there 24:00were all these investigators, and they went out all over the -- all over the Southern states to deal with this. That’s -- you started telling me that the other day.

HEAFNER: Well, as you’ll notice in my reports, I covered mostly North and South Carolina. Uh, far as the other men, I have to think a little bit. Walter Tolliver, Junior. South College Street, Charlotte. You know, it could’ve been Walter, uh, Tolliver’s son, uh...Walter Tolliver was a very prominent lawyer here in town, and the board, being set up by Judge -- I mean, being headed by Supreme Court Stacy, uh, our Supreme -- uh, uh, head of our Supreme Court in, uh, Raleigh, uh, it could’ve been Tolliver’s son, but I didn’t --

HELFAND: OK.

HEAFNER: -- darned if I -- if I show reports knowing him, I’ll be doggone. It’s because I just blank on him. (laughter)

25:00

HELFAND: Well, that’s OK, but what I -- what I’m asking you --

HEAFNER: Class Williams? Now what you want me to do?

HELFAND: Well, I’m just saying -- look, we have a whole bunch of all these investigators.

HEAFNER: Right.

HELFAND: I have reports from all of these investigators.

HEAFNER: Right.

HELFAND: Could you explain to me briefly, as an intro to all these reports, say, “Yeah, I was one of these investigators that had to go out all over the Southern states to deal with this problem,” and then just elaborate a little bit? I know you started a little later than they did, but they were picking up the pieces after the strike, and we’re just trying to understand what it was like for them.

HEAFNER: Well, I don’t know. Um, it’s hard for me to paint the picture. I do know this: that if they all traveled as much as I did -- there was a lot of traveling done, because, again, I come back to my original story: the nearest you can imagine of having a commonality between, uh, normally opposing parties, 26:00uh, and including members of the Textile Labor Relations Board, who were making the investigations, it was during that period, and, um, uh...Now, ask me any question --

HELFAND: OK.

HEAFNER: -- and I’ll try to (inaudible).

HELFAND: All I’m asking is for a general statement, OK? It’s gonna help me explain all these investigators going out all over the country --

HEAFNER: Well, they --

HELFAND: -- OK?

HEAFNER: If they all went like I did -- I don’t know what the rest of ’em did, but you can see from my reports that I covered the territory, and I presume that the, um, uh, investigators in the other states did the same. Now, I didn’t do any work in the textile mills, even though I was sent back to Carolina, and covered most of it in North, South Carolina. If you’ll notice my reports, I had very little, if any, to do with Tennessee and Louisiana, other 27:00states. Uh, it was mainly here. Now, the other investigators, if they covered their territory like I did, they, they covered it pretty thoroughly.

HELFAND: You knew Rose Forrester?

HEAFNER: Yep, I knew Rose Forrester, that’s right. But Rose Forrester, as far as I know, she never worked much in this territory at all.

HELFAND: Uh, she worked in Gastonia.

HEAFNER: She did?

HELFAND: Yeah.

HEAFNER: Well, my -- it’s a funny thing: I didn’t know Rose then until -- she might’ve come into Gastonia when I was in, uh, uh -- out traveling or whatnot. I remember Rose Forrester. She was one that was transferred to f-- uh, to U.S. Conciliation Service, and I knew her there, more than I can recall her back then.

HELFAND: Well, you’re right to say they were busy, because we have --

HEAFNER: That’s right.

HELFAND: -- night and day they’re getting telegrams --

HEAFNER: Right.

HELFAND: -- back and forth, and saying, “Write reports, and let me know what’s going on.”

HEAFNER: Telephone calls. We’d get reports by, uh, telephone from Washington. We’d get letters. We’d get wires. We used wires lots in those days. We’d get calls from unions, and, um, uh...Well, I’d get -- I’d get calls 28:00-- time and again I’ve gone to Trade Association up there, and they’ve reported they’ve heard such-and-such a mill. I think I mentioned those reports that you gave me.

HELFAND: Would you drive in the middle of the night?

HEAFNER: Uh, uh, uh...Huh?

HELFAND: Would you drive --

BILLIE: No.

HELFAND: -- at night?

BILLIE: No, not then.

HEAFNER: Not then, no. I did most of my traveling in the day in that, uh, period. When I went with mediation later on I did a lot of driving at night, because I had a boss that, uh, expected you to get there and do something, and partic-- ...No, we didn’t do much driving at night. During the war period, when I was on the sensitive stuff, so to speak, why, heck -- we’d -- she’d drive all night, and I’d, um, sleep in the back of the car in order to get there, to keep, uh, my boss from sending an Army plane for me, (laughter) and riding one (inaudible).

HELFAND: When did you type your memos? I just need these little, little pictures.

HEAFNER: Where did I -- where did I type ’em?

HELFAND: Yeah.

29:00

HEAFNER: On my typewriter that I carried with me, my portable typewriter.

BILLIE: Portable typewriter.

HEAFNER: I wore out a couple of ’em, (laughter) as you can readily, uh, uh, imagine, uh...

GEORGE STONEY: What -- you must’ve had a cast-iron stomach to put up with these small town cafes.

HEAFNER: Oh, I -- yes, I didn’t hardly know -- realize I had a stomach in those days, to be frank with you. I, uh, um, stayed in a lot of small towns, uh, stayed in a lot of large ones, but n-- mostly in small towns, because our mills -- you see, they were built down here originally on the -- uh, out on the streams, in the water, out of town. And, uh, today you’ll find plants still that way that, uh -- because they were built there to get water power. And --

HELFAND: And --

HEAFNER: -- and you, you couldn’t stay in a, in a ho-- in a New York suite and tend your business.

HELFAND: Now, what about how fast you had to work? Because I, I have records of people getting telegrams back and forth, and emergencies. There’s gonna be an 30:00eviction. What do I do? I need...I need to know. You need to get over there 24 hours. They’re going to evict people from the company houses.

HEAFNER: Yeah, I would say that most of the complaints -- now, I’m, I’m surmising this; I’m, I’m, I’m guessing, but I would surmise that, uh, most of the complaints came from the unions, uh, or from the union representatives. I would sit down and talk with the union representatives, and I’d be guided pretty well by the information they had at hand as to the validity, and their opinion of the validity, mixed with mine, and I’d pass judgment and decide what my itinerary would be, uh, talking with the complainant, and depending on how much urgency there might add to it. Uh, or, if I got a report from the, um, uh, say, an association, or another company, that somebody was violating code, you’d be surprised how many reports you’d get that didn’t come from the 31:00union or directly from a worker, because, uh, uh, nobody wanted to see the codes violated. They wanted to see people have to pay the minimum wage, and, and run a normal workload.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, where did they get the idea that they could write to Washington?

HEAFNER: Oh, that I don’t know, but certainly I would imagine that emanated primarily from union sources, I -- who were operating in the area. That would be my opinion now. That’s purely a personal opinion. Uh...If I were...I would have no objection at all of telling any party that they could report to Washington, anything, in case, uh, uh, they had a complaint, uh...

GEORGE STONEY: You see, this wr-- this idea of writing to Washington was almost 32:00brand new for people.

HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: They -- and yet, we’ve got thousands of letters that came within a -- in about a year’s time. So something must’ve made these people feel that somebody up there likes us, uh, somebody up there’s -- cares about us.

HEAFNER: Oh, well, of course you know, uh, as well as I do, just common sense tells you that when the era of, uh, Roosevelt coming in, with all the social legislation that was passed, uh, the people, generally speaking, uh, felt, in view of the legislation and everything else, that, uh, their interests were being looked, uh, pretty well after. Uh, no, that, that, that feeling was pretty general, uh, probably more than some people wanted attending to, but, uh, as I said, became more nearly a commonality when the law went out of effect and 33:00they got caught with, uh, uh, people chiseling on the codes. Uh, uh, it’s hard to imagine -- I, I try to think, and, uh, try to be as honest and straightforward as I can about it, but, um, um, most of the complaints, I’m satisfied, emanated from union sources, and it was generally discussed with the complainant -- uh, the union would be the complainant -- we’d follow it up, and then we’d come back now and sit down, for instance, with Red Lisk or Paul Christopher. If it had to do mainly with workloads or overtime, it’d be Paul. If it were, uh, wages or whatnot, uh, uh, Red, unless the workloads came into it. If it did, then I’d invoke, uh, Paul’s opinion, uh, most -- or, uh, ask it to be invoked most every time, because Paul knew more about that than any man with the union that they ever had down here, except on a temporary basis. They 34:00had, um -- gosh, I’ve forgotten, they had one man came down here was an engineer, time and again, but he couldn’t get along with ’em near as well as Paul did, uh, with the, uh, employees or the employers.

GEORGE STONEY: We’ve heard so many things about Paul Christopher, and one fellow named, uh, uh, Don McKee recalls you and, and Paul Christopher, uh --

HEAFNER: Don McKee.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, he was an organizer --

HEAFNER: That --

GEORGE STONEY: -- in -- out of Gaffney, who --

HEAFNER: That name I remember, but I don’t remember the person.

GEORGE STONEY: He works -- he worked with, uh, Paul Christopher.

HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And he tells us about you and Paul sitting, drinking beer, and talking about these cases.

HEAFNER: Yeah. Well, I don’t recall. I can’t place McKee to save my life, but Paul Christopher was never a person that I was with so much as I was 35:00definitely with him in every case where work assignments were involved and I couldn’t work it out, uh, uh, with the, uh, contingent that I had to work with. Then Paul would always be called in. And, um, uh, in fact, I’d insist that Paul be called in, ’cause, uh, you had a lot...Once you have laws passed like there were in early ’30s, uh, once you have, uh, uh, the unions, for instance, send in a, a bunch of new people that weren’t too experienced in organizing or anything else, um, you’re gonna have, um, uh, situations arise where rather than, uh, telling somebody they don’t know what they’re talking about, you’ll call on somebody that you know what knows, uh, to, uh, help you 36:00take the brunt, uh, of a complaint.

GEORGE STONEY: But Paul was even younger than you were. Uh, Paul was 25, 26 years old at that time.

HEAFNER: Yeah, I guess Paul was about -- was, uh, younger than I was. I guess he was. I hadn’t thought of it in that way, but I guess Paul was. All I could say in, in a general summary of it is that, um, uh -- I’ve repeated this time and time again; I’ll repeat it once more -- that of all the complaints I got when I was with the TLRB, as well as with mediation, I reported as nearly as I could the facts as I saw a-- or as were rumored to me. And, if I made an investigation, as I found out, if I were permitted to make an investigation, after mediation, uh, I figured it was...Well, after the Wagner Act was passed, 37:00my job was to mediate, and, as I say, it would pass from, uh, investigators to mediators, and that was a different story. And, uh, that’s when I tried to be fair with everybody concerned, and --

GEORGE STONEY: OK?

HEAFNER: -- and...

HELFAND: Yep.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, great.

(break in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: -- books of the New Testaments.

BETTY HINSON: Pardon?

GEORGE STONEY: Do the books of the New Testament.

HINSON: I can’t.

GEORGE STONEY: Why not?

HINSON: I don’t know ‘em all. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans --

GEORGE STONEY: Go ahead. Well, go ahead.

HINSON: -- Ephesians. I don’t know.

GEORGE STONEY: Ephesians, Galatians...

HINSON: I really don’t know all of them.

GEORGE STONEY: First John, Second John, First Kings, Jude, and Revelations. OK, ready?

HELFAND: Yeah.

38:00

GEORGE STONEY: OK. (pause) Yep, (inaudible). Let’s take it out.

HINSON: That’s far enough. Just so --

GEORGE STONEY: OK, mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Just -- just open it again.

HINSON: Whoops.

GEORGE STONEY: OK? OK?

HINSON: Now, these are bedspreads from the ‘20s and 30’s. I put them in there.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HINSON: Woops.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, tell me something about your grandmother.

HINSON: OK. She was, uh...She always wore these shoes, this style shoes, on up, you know, from the time --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- I can remember her until she died in the ’50s. Um, she died in 39:001954, and she still wore these shoes.

GEORGE STONEY: How old was --

HINSON: And --

GEORGE STONEY: How old was she then?

HINSON: She was, uh, 82.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. And she’s -- worked into the mill -- in the mills until...?

HINSON: No, she didn’t work any after they moved to Belmont --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- because all of, all of her daughters and sons, you know, were old enough to work --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- and she just kept house. But she didn’t work any at all in Belmont.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: She always wore aprons. These were her aprons. (laughter) When she cooked, you know.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: See, they’re kind of long, had pockets.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, how different are those from the ones she wore when she was working in the mills?

HINSON: Well, the ones that, uh, they wore in the mills were about this short --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- I think, and had a pocket all the way across, so they could put 40:00cotton and their brushes and things like that in ’em.

GEORGE STONEY: Was that just for the spinners?

HINSON: Yeah, just the --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- spinners.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: So, sort of like a carpenter’s apron?

HINSON: Yeah, on that order, uh-huh. Sure was, something like a carpenter’s.

HELFAND: And your grandma was a spinner?

HINSON: Yes, mm-hmm, she was, when she worked. And she always wore long dresses. This is one of her long dresses. She was a lot shorter than I am, but it was on this style that she wore. And I remember seeing -- let’s see, this is the, the front with the pockets, isn’t it? Yeah, she had pockets on her dress.

GEORGE STONEY: Those were --

HINSON: See how -- see how long they were?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: And, of course, she was shorter than I am, and they come all the way down and covered up the top of her shoes.

GEORGE STONEY: Were those handmade?

HINSON: These were handmade, uh-huh, made on a pedal sewing machine.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Did you know her when she worked in the mill?

HINSON: No --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- I didn’t. I don’t --

41:00

GEORGE STONEY: I just wonder what sh--

HINSON: -- I don’t re--

GEORGE STONEY: -- what she wore in the mill.

HINSON: Well, it was probably something like this --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- because she always did wear this style, you know.

GEORGE STONEY: When did the women stop wearing dresses and start wearing, uh, trousers in the mills?

HINSON: Mm, that was, uh, I think about, um, in the late ’50s, maybe. They wore pedal pushers. You remember those?

GEORGE STONEY: (laughter) Yeah.

HINSON: They came down just below the knee, and --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HINSON: -- I know I got some, bought several pair. My dad saw me, you know, when I come out with ’em on, and he said, “That, that looks like that, uh, they’re cut off too short, you know.” (laughter) This was a little homemade petticoat --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- that my aunt made for me when I was little, and that’s what I wore to school --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- little cotton petticoats.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, it’s interesting that you, you’re keeping these things, 42:00uh, to remind you of how she lived.

HINSON: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: But, uh, what are you keeping to remind -- what do people here keep to remind them that people were working in the mills, and their working life? What kind of memorabilia do they have of their working life?

HINSON: Uh, some of the people have, um, the -- some of the spools, and the spindles --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- you know. And, um, I know, um, my uncle’s nephew that lives out in California, he had a lamp made from one of the bobbins. And, uh, he also keeps, uh -- kept some tape, uh, like the tape they had in the mill, you know?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: They’d bottom chairs with it?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: Those things like that.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: This is another dress that -- old dress that she had.

HELFAND: Mm.

GEORGE STONEY: Hmm. That’s very pretty.

43:00

HINSON: She sewed herself --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- and made things. And when, when she got, you know, too old to sew, my oldest aunt, which was her oldest --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- daughter could sew. She was the only one in the family, one of the girls that could sew. There was something else I wanted to show you (laughs) that I’ve kept. This is the hat, the velvet hat, that my aunt and mother, you know, would tell me about how --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- Grandma would put this hat on and go to church with -- take the children to church --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- and they just kept it, you know, all these years.

GEORGE STONEY: Hmm.

HINSON: And I’ve hated to throw it away.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, sure. It’s beautiful. Yeah.

HELFAND: Ask her if she went to an Oaktown church.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, where did she go to church?

HINSON: She went to Hickory Grove Baptist Church.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: And they would go in a buggy, you know, get all the kids up and go in the buggy. And you maybe noticed that little buggy seat out there --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

44:00

HINSON: -- that we had? They sat in it. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, you asked us to bring a letter that, that Judy had found in the archives --

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- from the time of the strike, and I remember when we first started talking to people here, people were a little hesitant about remembering those times. Uh, how has this changed, or has it changed?

HINSON: Uh, I don’t know whether it’s changed or not. Um, see, I never knew about the strike myself. And, um, I, I just don’t remember it.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: And all, all I know is what has been told recently --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- you know, about it.

(break in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: OK. All right.

JAMIE STONEY: We’re back to live action here. Where were we? You were saying about the strike?

45:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. You did -- you just never...

HELFAND: You were talking about why you’d never --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: -- that you’d never heard about it.

HINSON: Mm-hmm. Well, I d-- I don’t know why they never talked about it, unless it was because, uh, they felt maybe that their job would be in jeopardy if they, if they did.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: And it, it was just never mentioned.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: And it’s been so long ago now, and the people who are talking about it, of course, you know, are older people who are not working, their job’s not in jeopardy, so they feel free --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- to talk about it.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, one of the things that, uh, has surprised and pleased us here is that people have been a good bit more open here than they had been in many other communities we’ve --

HINSON: Hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- gone to. I mean, when we first started out, I remember calling one woman, and she said, “Well, you’re a very nice person, and I’m sure you mean well, but I’ve got a granddaughter in that mill, and it’ll be held against her.”

HINSON: Hm.

46:00

GEORGE STONEY: Well, we’ve had people -- uh, Mr. Wetzell, for example, who runs the military museum --

HINSON: Mm-hmm, yeah, mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and was a textile manufacturer --

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- he talked just for a couple of hours, and his reporting was remarkably evenhanded, and open.

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: And he is in a, in a square dance group --

HINSON: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- with, uh, Mr. Moore and his wife, and Moore and his father were very much on the other side. And perhaps in, in old age they can (laughs) get together.

HINSON: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: But, (clears throat) at the same time, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty about the -- what’s going to happen at -- to the old, uh, tire plant, and what’s --

HINSON: The Firestone mill, mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: The Firestone mill, or the...And what’s gonna happen to the 47:00union there, the one -- almost the one union in town, except for, uh, the Freightliner.

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: And so there -- there’s still an uncertainty about this. Now, you have, since you read the article in the newspaper about us and called us, and then provided us with so many leads --

HINSON: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- we’ve been able to find many, many of these. Did you anticipate that when you wrote to us?

HINSON: Yes, I did. I thought you would, you know. If we could just get the ball rolling, you know, one person refers you to another, and I think I had about, uh, what, four people lined up for you to interview?

GEORGE STONEY: Well, those four people have led us to other people --

HINSON: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- have led us to other people --

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and that’s the way the story’s being told.

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Why weren’t you afraid?

HINSON: What?

48:00

HELFAND: I mean, what, what -- we were always so nervous about getting anything published in a newspaper, ’cause it seemed too public, that maybe we’d frighten people away. So we were very surprised that people were willing to call us and talk --

HINSON: Uh-huh.

HELFAND: -- about what had seemed to be almost taboo.

HINSON: Well, they probably didn’t mind talking as much as they would’ve -- would seeing something in print, maybe.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: Do you think that might’ve made a difference?

GEORGE STONEY: It might very well have been.

HINSON: Seeing it in print in the paper.

GEORGE STONEY: And we’ve had s-- people who said, “We’ll talk to you, but we don’t want our pictures taken.”

HINSON: Yeah.

HINSON: They just didn’t want, uh, to, uh, to go public --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- maybe with it.

HELFAND: But what about at the, at the, at the, at the reunion? Um, everyone talked about all the good times --

HINSON: Uh-huh.

49:00

HELFAND: -- and, um, and how good a -- how like a family it all was, and how good the bosses were.

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Well, maybe they didn’t get into that. And how good the village was. But, um -- and they all were of the age when this all took place...And, I’m, I’m wondering, um, you know, why they only talk about, well --

HINSON: The good times?

HELFAND: Yeah.

HINSON: I don’t know. I really don’t know.

GEORGE STONEY: I don’t -- Judy, I don’t think that’s strange. You go to, uh, an Army reunion, uh...I’m -- I was in the Air Force --

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and annually my squadron gets together. Well, I’m sure when they get together they don’t talk about the fellow who got frightened and 50:00didn’t hit his target.

HINSON: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: I’m sure they don’t talk about --

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible), Judy?

HELFAND: Mm-hmm.

JAMIE STONEY: You’re covering his entire face.

HELFAND: Oh, I’m sorry.

GEORGE STONEY: I’m sure they don’t talk about the fellow in the squadron who got frightened and missed his target.

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: I’m sure -- uh, maybe, maybe late at night (laughter) --

HINSON: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- after the formal part is done it will come up --

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- but very reluctantly.

HINSON: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: I think it’s natural that we look back and remember only the, the good times.

HINSON: The good things, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: But --

HINSON: And it -- and, and that type of relationship that we had, we second generation, especially, you know, it made a, an impact on our lives, and, uh...But, now, when I was growing up, when the people would get together, such as you saw at the reunion, you know, the older people --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- they were always talking about their job.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HINSON: You know, how many more sides they had to run, and how it run bad, and maybe one day, and maybe it run good the next. They were always talking about their job.

GEORGE STONEY: Hmm.

HINSON: And I would get so tired of hearing ’em (laughter) talk about their 51:00job all the time. And now I guess they just don’t look back, you know, on their job.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm.

HINSON: They just remember the good things, the relationships we had.

JAMIE STONEY: (clears throat) Betty, is it maybe that they don’t want to admit or remember that they once lived in a shotgun with an outhouse on the back?

HINSON: Well, no, I don’t think so. Now, they didn’t have an outhouse in the back. You know, all those, uh -- they had a toilet --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- so to speak, you know, on the back porch. It was built out there. And I can remember the first bathtub that was put in one of the houses down there. It was, uh...Well, you met Bessie. It was her sister and her husband. They had one daughter, and, um, I played with Thelma, and Thelma wanted me to come out and take a bath in the bathtub. (laughter) But I distinctly remember that, you know, then. And, uh, you know, housing was real cheap, and the 52:00electricity was practically nothing.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: There was a man who come around and read the meters. Well, uh, Jim Smith --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- the same one that put in the bathtub --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- first, and, uh, we’d always, you know, holler at Jim and wave at him. He’d come over the hill, read everybody’s meter. And it, and it was just a little, a little bit compared to --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- what we have now. I guarantee you that. Maybe a few dollars --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- where now, you know, mine runs like 100, 125 sometimes.

HELFAND: Don’t you have some furniture that was from the mill house? The la-- first time I came here --

HINSON: Yeah, mm-hmm.

HELFAND: -- you took me on a tour.

HINSON: A dresser.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HINSON: It’s back in here. You might need that overhead light. Do you? Yeah, this dresser here.

53:00

HELFAND: Where was it?

HINSON: This is the dresser.

HELFAND: Where was it?

HINSON: Uh-huh. Where was it?

HELFAND: Yeah.

HINSON: It was in the front bedroom.

HELFAND: On what street?

HINSON: When we lived at the -- on, on the mill village. It was, um...Well, the streets weren’t named at that time. And, uh, this was, um, one of the nicer pieces, you know, and it was in the front bedroom.

GEORGE STONEY: Was it bought on time, that is a dollar down and a dollar a week?

HINSON: Probably, but, see, she -- Grandma had that before I ever, you, you know, was born, I think.

GEORGE STONEY: What --

HINSON: She had that a long time.

GEORGE STONEY: What about your sewing machine?

HINSON: Uh, I think this sewing machine was bought in -- it was a -- it was a secondhand sewing machine, and it was bought in about 1939, I think --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

54:00

HINSON: -- something like. I was about nine or ten when mother bought it.

HELFAND: And the [car?] --

JAMIE STONEY: And I have a gift for you. I have the complete set of attachments to that yesterday. All the zipper foots and the [raw footers?], if you want ’em.

HINSON: Well...

JAMIE STONEY: Match, match your set. Do you have the set?

HINSON: There are some in here --

JAMIE STONEY: ’Cause it looks --

HINSON: -- somewhere, but I never --

JAMIE STONEY: I just got -- I just found it the other day, and it’s for, uh -- it’s the full set.

HINSON: I think that’s them right in there. [Watch your thing?]. But I don’t even know how to use ’em. No, that’s for putting on snaps. You can really sew on one of these, or I can, a lot better than an electric one.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: Because you can turn the curves --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- your own -- you know, you can s--

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- uh, go as fast or slow --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- as you want to.

HELFAND: What about your coffee grinder?

HINSON: Yeah, that was, uh, my grandmother’s coffee grinder that she had. They used to have, uh -- I don’t think they had anything else but the coffee 55:00beans, you know, and they, uh, made coffee, and it come out in this little drawer here.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: They had to grind it, you know, by hand. It, it was put in right there.

GEORGE STONEY: And a clock?

HINSON: That was Grandma’s old clock that she had for as long as I can remember.

GEORGE STONEY: Did she -- they bring that down from the hills, from the mountains?

HINSON: Uh, yeah, mm-hmm. They brought it with ’em. And this was her butter press. And she, she would churn, you know, and make butter when we lived at, at the Eagle. And I would watch her take the butter off the top of the milk, you know, and put it in a press, and make it.

56:00

GEORGE STONEY: Is there anything else that we should see?

HINSON: No. You saw the trunk that --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: -- the other little trunk, didn’t you?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HINSON: Do you want me to move this?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm, all right.

HINSON: That was my uncle’s trunk, and, you know, in those millhouses, space was limited for keeping one’s clothes, you know. And he always kept his underwear in there. And, uh, he kept the trunk under the bed. The bed was high. And, uh, he’d always get down like this, you know, and pull the trunk out, and, and get out his underwear (laughter) every day, and his socks. And, uh, he wanted my son to have that trunk. He told me, said, “Now, I want Larry to have that someday.”

GEORGE STONEY: Mm.

HINSON: And, uh, so I’ve kept it.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh.

57:00

HELFAND: So the Eagle isn’t running anymore, is it?

HINSON: Mm-mm, no.

HELFAND: As we walk, you could just tell, tell us --

HINSON: Oh, this, this was an old dresser that I had in my room when I was little. I forgot about it. (clears throat) I think Mother got that in about 1938, or ’39, something like that.

HELFAND: You know what might be really helpful, George?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Is to have Betty read the letter that she wrote to us originally.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: Why don’t, um, I get it.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: Does that make sense?

GEORGE STONEY: Sure.

(break in audio) [00:57:38]-[01:09:32]

58:00

[Silence]

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62:00

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69:00

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JAMIE STONEY: We’re rolling.

HELFAND: Do you want -- George, do you want to be in here?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, I do. (inaudible).

HINSON: Want me to go ahead and start?

GEORGE STONEY: Let me just get this set up. Yeah.

70:00

(typewriter noise)

HINSON: “March 30th, 1992. Ms. Judith Helfand, [address redacted]...”

(break in audio)

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah.

HINSON: Start?

HELFAND: Mm-hmm.

(typewriter noise)

HINSON: “March 30, 1992. Ms. Judith Helfand, [address redacted], New York, New York, 10014. Dear Ms. Helfand: It was nice talking with you by telephone 71:00on March 26th. I was born in 1929, and by the time I was five years old the strikes were over. I suppose the textile employees just put all of that behind them and went on with life, because I never heard it discussed, and do not remember the strikes. There are a few older men and women who do remember quite well about the strike of 1934, and participated in it, or were directly affected by it. Since I have known them all of my life, I called two of the th-- of the three oldest men over the weekend and talked with them. They don’t mind at all to talk about what they remember. Their names are listed below. Washburn Hardin, 86 years old, of [address redacted], Dallas, North Carolina. Mr. Harden’s family was fired because of the strike at the Majestic Mill in East 72:00Belmont. This forced his family to load all their belongings on a boxcar and move to South Carolina. They stayed there only about six weeks before returning to North Carolina. His family was eventually hired at the Eagle Yarn Mill, and was furnished a house on the village. Albert [Beale?], 81 years old, of [address redacted] in Belmont, North Carolina. Mr. Beale and his family lived at the Eagle Yarn Mill shortly after 1924, when the mill began operation. He remembers some of the employees on strike gathering at the mill to try and prevent a shipment of yarn during the strike of 1934. He also remembers a young man by the last name of Riley being killed by a bayonet of one of the National Guardsmen, who was guarding the Majestic Mill in East Belmont. Elizabeth Beale, 73:00wife of Albert Beale. Mrs. Beale remembers standing in line in East Belmont with her two children to get food during the strike. The union was furnishing food to the strikers. The National Guardsmen charged while she was standing there, but went right by her and did not attempt to harm her or the others waiting for food. Claude Ward, 83, of [address redacted], Belmont. This is my uncle that I told you about in our conversation March 26th. He remembers gathering with a group of men who were trying to prevent a shipment of yarn during the strike of 1934. The boxcar was loaded with yarn, and was ready for the train engine to come up the switch track and hook on. The engineer told the men that he had to take the shipment, since he had pulled in for it. He told the men that if the switch had been closed to prevent his coming in, he would 74:00have no quarrel with them, but since he had come in after it, he was obligated to take the loaded boxcar. I related to you in our conversation that the switch track is still there. Actually, I drove around the Eagle Mill yesterday and noticed that because of an addition that was built to the mill in recent years, part of the switch track is no longer there. About half the switch track is left, however, and I believe it is still used. I also related to you that we had a company store, Stowe Mercantile Company. I am enclosing an actual copy of an order for groceries that my grandmother, Mrs. W.M. Engel, gave to Raymond Stewart on September the 19th, 1945. Mr. Stewart was the man who came around once weekly to the homes in the village and took orders for groceries. 75:00Customers would either pay cash, or items could be charged to one’s account. Stowe Mercantile would withhold a small amount each week from the employee’s pay. I think most of the customers paid cash for groceries. The company carried not only groceries but clothing, shoes, hardware items, linens such as sheets, towels, bedspreads, and even furniture. I just thought you might be interested in seeing this old list. It was among my mother’s things when she died, and I wanted to keep it. I’m also enclosing the first booklet I wrote and put together for the first Eagle Mill reunion I attended. There were so many requests that I finally asked R.L. Stowe III to print the booklets. You will note that some of -- some of it was left out in the smaller booklets. You will also note articles I’ve written for the Belmont Banner, a weekly 76:00newspaper about our reunions, and for Textile Week. One other thing I want to mention is this: I know some of the people in my own age group who lived at the Majestic Mill in East Belmont during the strike. This is the mill where National Guardsmen killed the young man. I could probably find out if some of the older people are still living, and who they are if you would like to have their names for interviewing. Our mayor, Billy Joy, was once a resident of the Majestic Village. He is younger than I, so I’m sure he would remember -- would not remember the strike, but would know the older people still living today that once lived at the Majestic. I do hope this package will be of some help to you and Mr. Stoney. If there is any way that I can help you further, please let me know. Very truly yours, Betty Hinson.”

HELFAND: And your address.

77:00

HINSON: “Two-oh-eight Vesta Street, Belmont, North Carolina, 28012.”

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: You know what? We might --

(break in audio)

(typewriter noise)

GEORGE STONEY: OK, that’s enough.

78:00

JAMIE STONEY: Hold on. Ho-- keep going. Keep going.

79:00

GEORGE STONEY: OK. (typewriter noise) (pause)

JAMIE STONEY: [01:19:28] (inaudible).

80:00

JAMIE STONEY: OK?

HINSON: Keep going?

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible). Yeah, keep typing. (typewriter noise) And you want fingers on keyboard?

81:00

GEORGE STONEY: No, no. (typewriter noise) Thank you, Betty.

82:00

(break in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: [01:22:41] (inaudible) feeling of a balance (inaudible) behind as well.

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah. (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: (inaudible).

83:00

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible). You were talking about (inaudible). It’s been a dress -- my mother wore long dresses. You can cut out of this sequence right into this, because it goes right to her feet. OK?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

84:00

(break in audio)

85:00

JAMIE STONEY: [01:25:36] They did one real slow tilt down, n-- so when you’re talking about the long dresses --

HINSON: Uh-huh.

JAMIE STONEY: -- you can have something to play with. OK?

(break in audio)

86:00

JAMIE STONEY: We’ll leave it on -- [it made?] a nice background.

HELFAND: You want it on?

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible).

HELFAND: Too tight?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: It’s OK?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, [sure?].

HELFAND: OK. Can you hold your [finger there?]? (pause) I haven’t been to 87:00Laurie Rushmeyer’s house. I don’t know what it looks like.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, I talked to (beep) Laurie last night.

HELFAND: Yeah?

GEORGE STONEY: It doesn’t sound good.

HELFAND: In terms of what?

GEORGE STONEY: Just (inaudible). She hadn’t found very much, and she was kind of despairing. She just (inaudible).

HELFAND: Well, maybe she doesn’t have the materials with which to work with.

GEORGE STONEY: (inaudible).

HELFAND: Oh. Well, tell her n-- not to despair and take a little break and...

GEORGE STONEY: (inaudible). I think she’s -- she felt particularly bad 88:00because Pam had come back with such enthusiastic reports from us.

HELFAND: Oh.

GEORGE STONEY: And she wasn’t able to deliver.

HELFAND: To Pam?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, that's right.

HELFAND: Oh, OK.

GEORGE STONEY: (inaudible).

HELFAND: OK. Well, I think that, in Pam’s story, that it should be a beginning and not a solu-- and not a sol-- that she shouldn’t be looking for -- she should just outline why we’re in Winston-Salem and that we need some help and that they should definitely call this woman again, and -- and what this woman is doing.

GEORGE STONEY: Good idea.

HELFAND: And not think -- and think about it as a search and not a comp--

GEORGE STONEY: OK..

HELFAND: -- and not a --

GEORGE STONEY: Good idea. (inaudible).

HELFAND: I have to talk to her anyway. I have to call her anyway.

GEORGE STONEY: (inaudible).

HELFAND: I think, more, you should tell Ms. [Prewitt?] that she shouldn’t 89:00worry. OK. Well, we need to hear you --

GEORGE STONEY: Am I on?

HELFAND: Um, you’re on. OK. Uh -- whoops. What -- what are you -- [am?] I on three? Yeah. OK, do your thing.

GEORGE STONEY: Genesis, Exodus, Deu-- Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth --

HELFAND: Oh wait, I’m not -- I’m not getting anything. One more time.

GEORGE STONEY: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles... (inaudible) can’t quite go through all the books of the Old Testament. I get -- I get lost at Malachi.

HELFAND: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: And Nahum, [Habbakuk?].

90:00

JAMIE STONEY: I had a depraved childhood. I never learned this stuff. I mean, I couldn’t even name the Seven Dwarves.

HELFAND: (laughter) Oh, wait, but the question is, can your father named the Seven Dwarves? George, you try the seven dwarves.

GEORGE STONEY: Dumbo.

HELFAND: Yeah, go on.

GEORGE STONEY: No, I don’t.

HELFAND: Come on.

JAMIE STONEY: I think it’s Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful -- Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful, Dopey -- there’s one other one. Murray.

HELFAND: OK, George, talk now.

GEORGE STONEY: I never knew those.

HELFAND: George, do your thing.

GEORGE STONEY: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Songs of Solomon.

HELFAND: Is that it?

91:00

GEORGE STONEY: No, no, I can go on. So --

HELFAND: Keep on going.

GEORGE STONEY: -- what (inaudible) -- it’s OK?

HELFAND: Oh, I see. Yeah. Keep on going. I --

JAMIE STONEY: Now, Judy, can you do the books of the Torah?

GEORGE STONEY: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.

HELFAND: Who is Esther?

GEORGE STONEY: Esther?

HELFAND: Esther, like as in E-S-T-H-E-R?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, uh --

HELFAND: Oh, like the Book of Esther?

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right, sure.

HELFAND: Queen Esther.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right.

HELFAND: Genes--

JAMIE STONEY: Now, it’s your turn, Judy.

HELFAND: -- my turn? Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus --

JAMIE STONEY: No, no, no, no -- books of the Torah.

HELFAND: That is the books of the Torah.

JAMIE STONEY: Oh, OK.

HELFAND: Genesis, Exodus, Leviti-- Leviticus, Deuteronomy.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, Numbers, Deu--

HEFLAND: And Numbers.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: That’s it. We only have five. You guys went way ahead of us. OK, all right. You OK?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm, go ahead.

HELFAND: Are you sad?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: One more battery for my cache.

GEORGE STONEY: Anything else in this box?

92:00

HELFAND: Yeah, these are, um, release forms. They’re blank. Those are the directions. You have to find Walnut Street somehow.

JAMIE STONEY: Where?

HELFAND: In Kannapolis.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, my advice is not to seal this box up.

JAMIE STONEY: It’s your Jesus box. You can --

HELFAND: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Until we -- after we get -- we just --

HELFAND: After we’re done.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and just before we depart for, uh -- we part company with Jamie.

JAMIE STONEY: You guys (inaudible)?

GEORGE STONEY: Then, we can put some more stuff in there.

JAMIE STONEY: Can I put this [down?]?

HELFAND: Yes, you can.

(break in audio)

HELFAND: So it’s a seven-hour right now, right?

RUSHMEYER: No, it’s still three to eleven. But see, when I come out, it’s like me and the girls, we -- just a little bit. (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: Judy?

HELFAND: Yeah?

GEORGE STONEY: Maybe we better [send?] --

(break in audio)

HELFAND: OK, do you see the microphone?

JAMIE STONEY: What microphone? (inaudible) in a wide shot, we don’t --

HELFAND: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: -- [if I see it in a?] close up, I’ll let you know.

HELFAND: Well why don’t -- and that’s the most --

LAURIE RUSHMEYER: Come on.

HELFAND: -- important thing, is the close-up, really. So --

RUSHMEYER: Come on. You can write in your room. Come on.

HELFANND: -- (inaudible) now...

93:00

CHILD: No.

RUSHMEYER: Come on let us get this done, and then you can come back out, and we can talk, and you can look at the TV. Come on. Come on missy. I’m going to pick you up. Come on. (child crying)

CHILD: No.

RUSHMEYER: Yes.

CHILD: No.

RUSHMEYER: Yes. Here’s your ice water, and here’s your paper. Come in with Dad and -- and keep him company for a little bit.

GEORGE STONEY: I’m just afraid she’s be talking too much on camer. (child crying)

RUSHMEYER: Take this brat.

_: (inaudible), quit acting up.

RUSHMEYER: See? Watch 227. There’s her ice water. Be done in a little bit, I hope. Here’s your pen. (pause) OK.

94:00

GEORGE STONEY: When’d you get home last night?

RUSHMEYER: Uh, about 11:30.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. So you’re on --

RUSHMEYER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- which shift are you on?

RUSHMEYER: I’m on second.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

RUSHMEYER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: What’s your...(laughter) She’s coming out. Oh well, that’s OK. Listen, your house always has kids in it, right?

RUSHMEYER: Yeah, always. (laughter)

HELFAND: How many are in your family?

RUSHMEYER: Uh, six. Yeah, four -- three, three boys, one girl --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

RUSHMEYER: -- husband and me.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

RUSHMEYER: That’s six.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, just be, uh, washing some dishes as you go --

RUSHMEYER: Oh, OK.

GEORGE STONEY: -- yeah.

HELFAND: George, do you want me to do this or not?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, do it, fine, yeah, OK. Go ahead. (laughter) OK.

HELFAND: All right, why don’t you just -- I’m sure you have a lot of chores to do, right?

RUSHMEYER: Yes.

HELFAND: All right, so you’ll be washing dishes and we’ll be talking to you, OK?

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

RUSHMEYER: You want me to run the water?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, yes, sure, yes.

RUSHMEYER: Oh!

HELFAND: Oh, up here?

RUSHMEYER: Lovely talk.

HELFAND: OK, can you turn -- yeah, just turn this way a little bit.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Park yourself right here, Judy, and I’ll shoot over your shoulder.

HELFAND: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, good.

JAMIE STONEY: Good.

RUSHMEYER: OK.

95:00

HELFAND: What’s your job running like these days?

RUSHMEYER: Oh, usually it runs, uh, five days, but with some of the orders we’ve been getting we’re running six and seven. Supposedly Labor Day’s coming up, and we’re supposed to have Monday off, and the weekend before, but we doubt if that’ll happen, because of the workload.

GEORGE STONEY: Won’t you get time and a half for Labor Day?

RUSHMEYER: No, we won’t work Labor Day itself. We’ll just work that weekend surrounding it.

HELFAND: What do you do on Labor Day?

RUSHMEYER: We get that day off and get it with, uh...it used to be with incentive pay, which is our, our -- what do you call it -- our average, our weekly average for that week, but they cut us down to eight and a quarter. So if you’ve been in six weeks or if you’ve been in six years, you get paid the same amount for that one day.

HELFAND: How long have you been in?

96:00

RUSHMEYER: Uh, only four years, come October. And, uh, it’s changed a lot in just four years.

HELFAND: How's that?

RUSHMEYER: Um, when I first started I was in the weave room, and the weaver had just a few things to do. The weaver would weave, and the work would -- you know, the guys that would knot, and the ladies that would smash. But they took out most of those helpers to the weave room, and weaver has to do most of that work, plus his job, too. And now, with over-- and now I’m an over-edger, and, uh, it wa-- it’s not so much the workload as the rate of pay for the work. The, the rates change a lot. And then, uh, type of work changes.

HELFAND: Now, when you s-- I mean, when you...Um, let’s talk a little bit about when you first came, what your job was like, and sort of if you -- if --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: -- there was no union there, there was no mo-movement for a union, and --

RUSHMEYER: No movement.

HELFAND: OK, so maybe you could talk a little bit about that, and then --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: -- and then your desire to commit to the union. Is that OK, George?

GEORGE STONEY: Sure.

97:00

RUSHMEYER: OK. Uh, first --

HELFAND: But just look towards me --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: -- just a little bit.

RUSHMEYER: OK, the, uh...The work four years ago, it was, like, day to day you didn’t know what you were doing. You would go in on your job, your said job, but as far as how much you had to do, you didn’t know. And the people were, like, feeling over, you know, overstressed, overworked. The anxiety was high, because they just didn’t know what they -- to expect, one day to the next. Um, when the thought of a union did come in, and people started asking a question, you know, I didn’t know anything about a union movement being started, because I was, like, a new worker there. And, uh, when they first hit the gates the first day, it was like elation. People were happy to see the organizers there. The company was scared to see ’em there, because they didn’t know what would come of this, um, organizing campaign. They didn’t know it would explode on ’em to a place where they couldn’t handle it. It 98:00went -- like, caught on like wildfire, started up slowly, but we had a lot of people who were willing. They were ready for it, ’cause they couldn’t take anymore stretch-outs. They couldn’t take the stress, you know. And one day you may go in, have a job, another day you go in, you may be gone, and say, “Well, we don’t need you anymore." But when the organizing campaign came through, the company tried to make you feel, uh, settled, and tried to pacify us, you know, to make us say, “Well, hey, you don’t want this, you don’t want this, we’ll make it better.” But as we know, pacifiers only last for a while and then they’re gone. (laughs) And so now the feeling is -- you know, the feelings now is just about the same as before the campaign kicked off. People are still feeling stressed out, ’cause they don’t know when they went from ten -- from eights to twelves without any input, the company said, “You goin’ on it,” they went on it. They had no say. And other areas now are talkin’ of goin’ on twelves. And, uh, they don’t like that idea, ’cause 99:00the 12-hour shift is just too much stress. It’s not really the amount of work. You have to produce what you have to produce, and I think the workers can handle that, but it’s the stress and the time involved, and the upset of the family that --

GEORGE STONEY: Could you talk about that? Because it seems to me that (clears throat) way back in the ’30s people were f-fighting the th-- the 12-hour day, and we thought we’d won it --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- uh, now in the ’30s, ’cause...So what’s wrong with going back to the 12-hour day in terms of women with children?

HELFAND: You might -- are you uncomfortable --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: -- with your hands in the water? How are you doing?

RUSHMEYER: Uh, no, I just don’t like --

GEORGE STONEY: She, uh, she, she --

RUSHMEYER: I’m, I’m --

HELFAND: Do you want to...?

RUSHMEYER: -- dishwasher person.

GEORGE STONEY: She’s looking good.

RUSHMEYER: But, uh, the, uh, the s-- 12-hour days is, is, is gonna be three days on, three days off, but it upsets the family because say if the husband’s working twelves from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and the wife is working from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., there’s always ha-- there always has to be that guide there for the kids, and the kids don’t have that guide, you know, when one parent’s constantly out, or the child may need dad, and dad has to work 100:00twelves, instead of him looking for him to come home at three o’clock or eleven o’clock, that, you know, that child doesn’t have that support, and that 12 hours upsets the children more so than it does the, the people who have to do the work.

HELFAND: So what’s, what’s the daily life like?

RUSHMEYER: Uh --

HELFAND: Why don’t you describe, you know, what your life is like with the k--

RUSHMEYER: What my life is like?

HELFAND: Yeah, with the kids --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: -- and your job, and what, what your responsibilities are.

RUSHMEYER: OK. Well, my day starts early, ’cause I’m a second shift worker. My husband works first shift. OK, we’re both -- now we’re eight-hour workers. Um, at 7:00 kids are up, now school’s in. Get ’em dressed, get ’em -- check over the homework, talk to ’em a little bit. That’s about the only time I have with them. And, uh, we get ’em off to school, and then when they get off to school, if I don’t lay back down then it’s housework, you know? Housework e--entails cooking, washing, all the other things that someone has to do. Sometimes I can’t do ’em all, so my husband and I, we -- 101:00we’re like a ’90s family now. We sorta spread out the duties. Um, when it’s one o’clock, uh, on comes the rush. It’s time for me to get started to go into the mill, and at three o’clock I’m at work, and at five o’clock he’s at home. So the kids have a sitter between 2:30 and 5:00, whenever he gets in, and luckily I have a nice family to help support me with my sitter, you know. I don’t have to worry too much about it. Uh, for other people who can’t find daycare, you know, it’s the parents or another family member, or sometimes they can’t work it because they got to -- they have to give up the job, ’cause maybe the sitter’s not available, or maybe the sitter can’t handle it.

HELFAND: Could you describe your job? You were just telling me before it’s repetitive.

RUSHMEYER: Yes.

HELFAND: Could you describe it -- like, in the most detail you can, ’cause I’ve never been inside plant one, and I don’t know what the towel section is like.

GEORGE STONEY: And just turn --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: -- a little bit more this way.

RUSHMEYER: OK, uh --

HELFAND: And you could -- if you want to take your hands out of the water...

RUSHMEYER: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, just turn a little bit more this way.

102:00

RUSHMEYER: (laughs) My -- uh, my job is somewhat like sitting at the s-- uh, standing at the sink. Uh, my machine is in front of me, and my work runs from my left all the way under me, under my platform, and then it comes up on rollers, and it’s here. It’s like table level. And I pull the work out, and then I have to hem it. The hem involves the cutting and the sewing with me. Some ladies just sew. I have to cut and sew. That attachment is on my machine, and it’s very repetitive, and you pull with this hand, and you turn. But you have to have your labels either in your mouth or on your table, or sometimes you have to have a label in your mouth and on your table. Depends if you’re putting one la-- one or two labels in. And you pull, and you hem, you put in your label, and you stack it over here, and it pushes out on the belt, you have -- when you get so much up. You push onto the belt, and inspectors inspect your work. That’s how repetitive it is. Two thousand and five is medium for the night, uh, and after 2,005 your wrist, uh, your hands, and your 103:00legs, and your feet are, like, clamped, and it’s just stress, because when you, when you run out of one work you have to go to another. You really don’t know what that work is gonna be. It can be bigger work or it can be smaller work. It can be one label. It can be two. So that’s how repetitive it is, and that’s how stressful it is.

HELFAND: (inaudible) (break in audio) mill so, and I’ve heard -- you know, the only access I’ve really had is from the side of the union, trying to --

RUSHMEYER: Right.

HELFAND: -- try-- i-is, uh, is the fact that you’ve all been trying to organize. So I just hear -- I just hear, you know, the reasons why you want to organize --

RUSHMEYER: Right.

HELFAND: -- but I can’t see it. So I don’t know how many people are in there. I don’t know what the noise is like. I don’t know, you know --

RUSHMEYER: Right.

HELFAND: -- how many people are on either side of you. So just give me a sense of it, if -- can you talk to people or not talk to people --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: -- and where’s your supervisor?

RUSHMEYER: OK. On my job it’s, uh --

HELFAND: (inaudible) --

RUSHMEYER: -- a line.

HELFAND: Yeah.

RUSHMEYER: It’s a line of 14 women. There’s seven on one side of the belt, and there’s seven on the other side. Seven face north, seven face south. 104:00With the noise level of all the machines running at one time, you have to wear your earplugs, and the only way you can talk to someone is if they’re directly in front of you, OK, so either you take your concentration off your work or you just stop altogether, take a break and ha-- hold a conversation. Uh, if you’re gonna make money, which we’re all in there to do, it’s very hard to make that decision when you know, uh, bills gotta be paid, medical has to be paid, and, you know, it’s, it’s set up now -- well, most of it is designed -- so you can’t communicate, uh -- two different lines can be goin’, doin’ the same kind of work, but you don’t communicate, because you don’t have the -- either the time, or you, you just can’t shout that loud, you know. And, uh, someone -- if someone is able to stand around and talk, it’s because they have no work, or because they are on downtime.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, we’ve been talking with women who talked about working in 105:00the late ’20s and early ’30s. They talked about stretch-out --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and they -- what they missed -- it was interesting -- was that we used to have fun in the mills and we don’t now, and, uh --

RUSHMEYER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- what do they mean?

RUSHMEYER: Well, the only -- well, fun in the mill is, uh, say we are soap opera buffs, most women are, (laughter) and we even have some men who are now, and fun to me is to be able to take away from -- you know, just to -- not forget the job, ’cause it’s there, but to just take that break, to stretch your mind out, because you go into this zombie-type mode when you’re working anyway. Everything around you is closed off, except for what you’re doing. Uh, if I can sit and discuss my soaps, you know -- I only watch All My Children and One Life to Live (laughter) -- if I can discuss what went on with those with women that are around me that are interested in it, or if we can just sit and talk about our families, you know, it, it takes away from your stress. But now we don’t have that time. Uh, we have a 15-to-20-minute dinner break. Some women 106:00can take 15 and they struggle all night long just to make their eight hours, and they have to produce for that 15, even though we’re not allowed to. State law says you have to take a dinner break. Uh, some women are, you know, just go-getters, and they can just knock it out. You know, they can get the work done, you know, and they have time. But, I mean, why would you knock yourself out when who you want to communicate with is extremely busy, and you see it bo-- you know, it knocks them off their pace and keeps them from surviving when you feel like you can communicate with them, and they can’t -- they don’t have the time. So that’s -- that’s where the fun is taken out. You don’t have time to communicate to even get to know the people you work around.

HELFAND: You know, Mary even said that when, when the organizing campaign first started and she would say, “Well, who works next to you? What’s their last name?” --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: -- people didn’t know the last name.

RUSHMEYER: No. Because, uh, you don’t have time.

HELFAND: Can you repeat, sort of -- incorporate what I said in terms about knowing people --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: -- and that you don’t have time. I mean --

107:00

RUSHMEYER: OK. Well, if I knew the girl beside me, her name is Danielle, OK, she and I talk, she tells me about -- she’s just getting married. You know, we threw her a baby -- we threw her a bridal shower. OK, that’s the only way I knew her last name was when I asked her who she was marrying, you know. And then since then, it’s like, well, you know, the girl behind me’s name is Debbie. I know Debbie by her first name. Most people in there we know each other by first, because, you know, really last names get you caught up into longer conversations. “Well, my last name is Rushmeyer.” “Well, where did that come from?” you know, la-la-la, and maybe she has time to listen, and maybe she doesn’t. That’s where the communication cutoff comes from.

GEORGE STONEY: The strange thing is that we’ve been talk-- we were going, uh, over some things about living in a mill village the other night --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and, uh, the woman had a picture of the -- all the people on her shift --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and this was 1928. She could name every single one --

RUSHMEYER: Mm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- of those people.

RUSHMEYER: But you can’t name ’em -- you can’t -- I can’t name everyone that works around me. I can name, uh -- out of 14 ladies, I can honestly say I 108:00can name nine, OK, first and last names, but that’s because of the campaign. I did get to know these women, you know, personally, ’cause that’s what it took. We had to get to know the people. Uh, that took extra time, you know, time that you have to sacrifice, but to organize you have to sacrifice, ’cause if you don’t get to know the people inside, you don’t know what they need. You know what you need, but the lady next to you may need more or less, or the man beside you may need more or less. If, uh, if we did have the time to get to know each other, we could, I believe -- we would be like a family, you know, to take care of each other. But the company makes sure you don’t have time, and then when you -- when they show production is up, people are making money, you see I.E. come in, they do a time study, and your work production increases. Your money doesn’t go up but your production increases. So you have to take what spare time you had and play catch-up in order to get back to the level of 109:00where you were at. So it’s a never-ending circle.

GEORGE STONEY: Talk about the s-- uh, experts coming in. Describe what they look like.

RUSHMEYER: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: We’ve had some very vivid ones from way back in the ’30s, (laughter) so tell us about the same kind of thing.

HELFAND: And what it feels like.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, yeah.

RUSHMEYER: OK. Uh, it’s, uh -- you see a man in a tie. Either he’s a supervisor or he’s an industrial engineer.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, sorry, you want to start that over again and talk to me --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: -- because we get much more of your eyes then --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: -- OK?

HELFAND: And (inaudible)...

RUSHMEYER: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Let me know when you guys (inaudible).

HELFAND: Sorry, Jamie. Sorry.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, so you start off -- just say you see a man in a tie. Sorry, Judy, and, uh, it’s just I want her to turn a little bit more this way.

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: No, that’s great, it’s just --

JAMIE STONEY: If you want to cross your arms or anything, it looks good. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: OK, yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: No, it looks good.

RUSHMEYER: OK. Um, when you -- uh, you see a man in a tie. He’s either a supervisor, a plant manager, or he’s an industrial engineer. Industrial engineer’s job is to get all the work he can out of you. It’s not to, uh, 110:00say any-- take anything personal, because that’s his job, OK. Uh, he may come in with a video camera. He may come in with a stopwatch. It depends, you know, who they’re studying at the time. Um, just recently they did a time study on our job, and they set up the tripod, the video camera, and it was directly to my left, you know, and in your peripheral vision, you c-- you pick him up, you know, and it’s like you don’t know whether to sew, you don’t know whether to stop, or you don’t know whether to slow down, OK, ’cause if you slow down it may help someone else along the way. I can zoom through if I want to, but I may be hurting someone else, because I can move faster than someone. But, uh, you know, it’s like being a rat in a cage, you know. They catch you on camera, they sit there with a stopwatch, and they write it down, “Well, she did this many in so many minutes,” you know, or “If she can do it, how come somebody else can’t do it, and how come everyone can’t do it?” But we’re all humans, we’re not machines, and that’s not taken into accord. 111:00They just want all the work out of you they can get for the eight hours you’re inside that plant.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you have any particular name for these guys?

RUSHMEYER: Uh, no, we just call ’em I.E.s, you know. It would be nice to have a name for ’em, but we find when we get into name-calling we sort of drift downhill, and we don’t want to drift downhill. We want to at least keep the level of respect --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

RUSHMEYER: -- you know, that we want to gain, we want to at least try to give them, you know.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, you’ve been putting in a lot of extra time, your own time and all of this, into this effort to get a union. What keeps you going?

RUSHMEYER: Uh...My family, um, my husband --

GEORGE STONEY: Just start off and say --

RUSHMEYER: -- mostly.

HELFAND: You know, d--

GEORGE STONEY: -- “What keeps me going in the union movement.”

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: Well, or talk about how much time --

RUSHMEYER: OK.

HELFAND: -- extra time you’ve been putting in, and the sacrifice.

RUSHMEYER: OK. OK. Uh, to -- when I first started with, uh, the organizing effort, I thought it was just, you know, after-work shift meeting, you know, but 112:00soon I found out it wasn’t just a shift meeting, it was to, uh, work inside when I was there from 3:00 to 11:00, to get to know the people more that were around me, people who were further from me. Uh, that took away from production time. That took away from my personal time on the job. And then, uh, when there’s a phone call at 9:00 in the morning, and you’re ready to get up at 10:00, you know, you have to be there at 9:00, and you give -- you have to give in order to get, because, uh, if no one is willing to give, you know, the extra time, the time that you have left, you know, then what makes you think it’ll work? You have to input time. All the extra -- and sometimes it’s all the extra time that you have.

GEORGE STONEY: What keeps you going? What...What --

RUSHMEYER: Mm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- makes you do that?

RUSHMEYER: Uh, it’s to know that eventually the efforts will pay off, and with the time that I’m putting in now, or was putting in during the campaign, uh, it’s just to know that, hey, soon we’ll be able to stand up for each other, 113:00to have our union, and to be able to look out for each other, and to tell the company, “Hey, you can’t send this man in with a video camera just because my production went up,” or, “Hey, you can’t give this girl the, the job that she doesn’t deserve, and give it to someone you want to give it to.” That’s what, to me, taking care of each other inside that mill, then we will become a family eventually, when we can take care of each other.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, this situation is so different from anything we found in the ’30s --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- where the few blacks in the mill only worked there because they belonged, almost, to some white man --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- who very often had them working on his farm outside --

RUSHMEYER: Right.

GEORGE STONEY: -- I mean, literally. That’s --

RUSHMEYER: That’s it.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, we, we didn’t have them. And now it’s a wholly different thing with, with whites and blacks in the mills and so forth. How is that working out?

RUSHMEYER: Oh, we still have people now who feel that, uh, the past drives were 114:00just racially motivated, uh, but now that we all see when the boom lowers on one, it lowers on all, no matter what color, race, or nationality, uh, you work to survive, and, uh, the whites feel that, hey, if they mistreat me, I see them mistreat you, you know, and they’re -- we’re all being tired of being mistreated, and we’re all being tired, tired of overloaded. And all we want is, you know, the respect, ’cause we do our jobs, and we do the best we can at them. We feel that all we want from the company is just that level of respect, and the knowledge that we have from doing these jobs day to day, it could help, you know, it could help the company to keep us, one, competitive on the market, and keep the prices down, but they don’t want to use the input or the knowledge that we have, because they feel that, you know, we’re just used up 115:00and then thrown out. That’s the company’s mentality.

GEORGE STONEY: Now --

HELFAND: Can we stop for one second?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: I just want to fix -- can I have a piece of tape, Jamie?

JAMIE STONEY: One second. OK.

(break in audio)

GEORGE STONEY: It, uh, comes out of our experience the last couple of summers, so three summers doing this, and it may not match with your experience, so don’t --

RUSHMEYER: Right.

GEORGE STONEY: -- just...(laughter) But what we’ve found, generally, is that the white people, the old people --

RUSHMEYER: Mm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- three generations after this thing happened in ’34, most of them are still frightened. The blacks who came into the mills in the ’60s have been more -- much more open, and much more unafraid. Does that make sense to you? And if so, why?

RUSHMEYER: Well, the fear that was instilled, what, three generations ago, uh, on both sides, the white man feels that, hey, you know, we’ve had -- I’ve 116:00always had -- my father worked in the mill, and I lived in a mill house, and I had it better than a sharecropper, you know, that I knew out in the country. Uh, the sharecropper, otherwise, mostly, you know -- there were white sharecroppers also, but the black men feels that, you know, we went from the fields into the mills, and in the mills we’re finding we’re getting the same treatment as we got out in the field. Uh, that’s one reason that makes, uh, s-some blacks, you know, stand up, because we don’t want to be treated like mules. We just want to be treated like people. The fear, it’s always gonna be there, you know, the fear of losing what you have, losing your livelihood, the fear of, you know, where they’re gonna take me out of this job, put me into a lesser paying job, or the fear of, well, hey, will I be able to retire 117:00with a decent pension, you know. And to me those fears cross col-- all color lines, all race lines, because, uh, if you’ve always had it, and then you lose it, it’s worse off to lose what you’ve had, but if you’ve never had it to lose, you know, it feel-- you feel like, well, hey, I have nothing else to lose. I just want to gain what my brother has, no matter what his color is. And that’s what makes some blacks stand up, and that’s what we’re finding out makes whites stand up, also. They don’t want to lose what they have. They just want to gain, or they want to keep --

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

RUSHMEYER: -- what they have.

HELFAND: So --

GEORGE STONEY: But I’m not saying that as a -- becau-- we, we were interviewing one young woman who grew up in Kannapolis --

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and she grew up in a Cannon town.

RUSHMEYER: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: And even though her parents weren’t allowed to work in the mill, she felt she was getting some of the advantage of living in a [proper?] Cannon town.

RUSHMEYER: Uh-huh. Yeah, the, uh -- even -- my father never worked in Cannon. 118:00Uh, he’s always been an outdoors type man. He chose construction. Uh, and to me he’s like -- can do anything needed to be done. With me, I told myself when I was in high school that I would try the mill, and I tried the mill in my junior, senior year. I left the mill for the, the thought of saying, “Well, hey, I don’t want to end up here for the rest of my life. I’d like to do something else.” But, you know, life doesn’t always take the road you choose, and I ended up back inside the mill, one, to survive. Um, it’s -- uh, the mill used to be the dirtiest word in the English language, you know. "You’re workin’ in the mill?" You have no, you know, you have no intellect, you know, or you just want to go in and get a good paycheck, you know. But we find out that the mill doesn’t hold all of that. Most of us who work there are smarter than management, because either we’ve grown up in the mill, or we’ve been around the jobs long enough to know, you know, and the 119:00management’s just coming in off the street, out of a, you know, out of a college. No bashing of them. But until you get your hands dirty and you walk in my shoes, you know, how do you know how the job is supposed to be run? You may cut out a vital part and not know it until it’s too late.

GEORGE STONEY: How much advancement from...