Telia "Mame" Griffith Interview 2

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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0:00

JAMIE STONEY: When I used to do transfers, I’d check like, one tape out of a box, usually. I would double -- I would zero.

(break in audio)

(long inaudible)

THOM MALCOLM: Hi, Ma.

TELIA "MAME" GRIFFITH: Hey! How you doing?

MALCOLM: Oh, pretty good.

GRIFFITH: Come on in, son. Well, well, well.

MALCOLM: How you been doing?

GRIFFITH: How you doing? (inaudible) I’m doing just fine.

1:00

MALCOLM: Aunt Katie said --

GRIFFITH: Get down, get down.

MALCOLM: -- said to tell you hi. And, uh --

GRIFFITH: Well, good.

MALCOLM: You know, Anne she’s in there working, today.

GRIFFITH: Yeah, yeah.

MALCOLM: I'm going to have to go in a little bit.

GRIFFITH: Oh, I wish I could work. Oh, I miss my job so bad.

MALCOLM: Shoot, we’d love -- we’d love to have you down there. We need somebody to get everybody fired up down there.

GRIFFITH: That’s truth.

MALCOLM: Ma, you remember, here, a while back, when we did the tape recording thing?

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: Well, that worked out so good that I --

GRIFFITH: Oh.

MALCOLM: -- what I wanted to do is, try to do it on a video camera.

GRIFFITH: Well, that’s fine. That’s fine.

MALCOLM: Think you'd enjoy doing it? I know I'd enjoy doing it with you.

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: But that audio tape, it was real good. I really love that.

GRIFFITH: Yeah. Well, I’m glad you did, son. Well, every word I told you was true.

MALCOLM: Oh, I know it was. You worked a long time in that cotton mill.

GRIFFITH: Yes, I certainly did. And I miss my job. I cried for two weeks after they laid -- you know, after I retired.

2:00

MALCOLM: Made you retired?

GRIFFITH: I wanted to go back so bad. I love --

(break in audio)

GRIFFITH: I'll throw your clothes off you and throw you in a briar patch. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

MALCOLM: Start now.

MALCOLM: Ma, remember how we talked on the tape that time, the audio tape? Well, what I want you to do is just kind of tell me about how, when you -- how old you was when you first went to work in the mill, and what you was doing, and kind of how -- what the conditions was and, you know, how you liked it, and what you really thought about working in the mill, and how the pay was, and things like that.

GRIFFITH: OK. All right. When do you want me to start? Well, I don’t know -- hardly know how to start it out. That’s --

MALCOLM: Just, just like we did on the, uh, audio tape. That -- like we ain’t even got a camera, you know. Just --

GRIFFITH: Well, uh, when I went to work in the mill, of course, uh, I didn’t want to go to school. Now, that’s my business. I was only in the fourth 3:00grade and I just didn’t like school. And I didn’t want to go to school. I decided I wanted to go to the mill and go to work. Well, Mama said, “No, you can’t go out.” I said, “Well, Mama, I don’t want to go to school.” Well, she said, “Well, nothing’ll do you but to go to school.” She had sold my horse and wagon. See, I used to haul stove wood. See, I worked, uh, down at the -- at the Pepperell Mill Village. You know, I’d buy that wood for a quarter a load and I’d bring it up here and Mr. Segers, he had a cancer on the side of his face. But he’d chop it up for me and I’d load it back in my wagon, and take it over here at the mill village, sell it for a dollar a load. So one morning me and little May Roy and, uh, uh, little May Roy and Johnny 4:00Futchell. We was on the wagon, and they was cutting up. And I didn’t hear the train coming. And you know the bend just below the mill?

MALCOLM: Yes, ma’am.

GRIFFITH: The big bend?

MALCOLM: Right, right where I work at?

GRIFFITH: A big nine o’clock passenger train was coming, but I didn’t hear it. Well, just to my wheels of the wagon was over in the, in the track of the train. You know, in the, the rails. Well, that train blowed, and I had a minute to get off of there. And I just thought, you know. I grabbed that scantlin' and hit that horse. And it dropped off. Just as my hind wheels went off of the track, the train went by.

MALCOLM: It was time to go to work in the mills, then, wasn’t it?

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

5:00

MALCOLM: That scared you to death.

GRIFFITH: So, Mama sold my horse and wagon. That’s what got me started in the mill. I told Mama, “I want to go work in the mill.” She said, “You’re too little. And they ain’t going to hire you.” I said, “I bet they do!” So I went to the mill and I went to work.

MALCOLM: How old was you went you went to the mill, Ma?

GRIFFITH: I was 14 years old. About 14. Thirteen or fourteen. And uh, they said, “Well, the professor at the school’s going to get you.” I said, “Not if I can help it.” So I went on up in the mill and the boss hired me. He asked me how old I was, and I had to go to the doctor and all this, and that and the other. But anyhow, I went on and asked the boss, and he said yeah, he wanted me to work. Well, I was too little to reach the spoolers, so Vivian Hollis -- I’m going to put him in that, too. Vivian Hollis was a fixer. So 6:00he goes and makes me a little bench. And stood it up by the spoolers. The spoolers run on belts, then. There wasn’t no -- you know, like there are now.

MALCOLM: Yeah.

GRIFFITH: And uh, so, I’d stand up on that, and I’d tie that knot for that knotteron my hand, you know. It was running slow. It wasn’t running speed, fast, like it is now. But anyway, he seen that I wasn’t doing so good on that, so he took me off that and put me to, to back winding. Well, he’d watch for me and I’d watch for him, and we’d see that old, uh, school woman a coming, he’d put me down in the big box and put a lid on me.

MALCOLM: He’d hide, you wouldn’t he?

GRIFFITH: Yeah! And whenever she go out the gate, go off, well then he’d got 7:00over and get me out of that box and put me back to work. (laughs)

MALCOLM: Put you right back on you job.

GRIFFITH: Right back on my job. Well, I worked for $2.50 a week. Now, that was a week! Until nine o’clock on Saturday night. So, when I got my little paycheck --

(break in audio)

MALCOLM: OK, Ma.

GRIFFITH: When I got my little paycheck, I was so proud of it. But uh, I run home and give it to my Mama, and uh, you could get the show up there for a nickel. Well, maybe sometime Mama’d give me a dime, or a nickel. I’d go get me a bag of popcorn for a nickel, and I’d go to the show. It wasn’t a talking picture. It was on the screen, you know. And uh, anyway, um --

MALCOLM: Ma, you was talking about, uh, that -- they didn’t actually give you 8:00paychecks, did they? You know, you --

GRIFFITH: Oh, no! You had to, uh, you had, uh, a big old round wheel with a hole in it --

GEORGE STONEY: I’m sorry --

GRIFFITH: -- with a number.

GEORGE STONEY: I’m sorry. Let me get -- I made a mistake there. Get on her, and then ask the question. You didn’t get paid in, in, in checks. OK. Now --

MALCOLM: Which -- ask the question again? Ma, they didn’t actually you pay you with a paycheck, did they?

GRIFFITH: Huh?

MALCOLM: They didn’t actually pay you with paychecks, did they? They --

GRIFFITH: No! They paid us with money. They had an envelope, as I started to tell you, with a number on it. Was the same thing as this here big --

MALCOLM: Like a medallion, like.

GRIFFITH: Yeah, yeah. But, but it was -- looked like a half a dollar. But bigger. And it had a hole in it, and you had to wear that around your neck. If you didn’t have that number, they wouldn’t give you that paycheck. And so, Mr. Jim Span, my paymaster, they bring the money in the mill and you’d, 9:00you’d took that and give it to him, and then he’d give you your money. You didn’t write no checks!

MALCOLM: Paid you in --

GRIFFITH: You didn’t have no checks.

MALCOLM: Paid you in cash? Cash money.

GRIFFITH: Cash money. And that’s what I was telling. I’d take my money and I’d run home and give it to Mama. I want Mama to have it. Well, you know, back then, it didn’t take very much. At stores, one -- just one or two stores here, and all you could buy was coffee and sugar and soda. And uh, coffee, sugar, and soda. And that’s about all you could get at the store. You had to raise your own vegetables. You killed your own meat. What else did you want?

MALCOLM: Didn’t need much else, did you?

GRIFFITH: That’s right.

GEORGE STONEY: What about house rent? Where'd you live?

GRIFFITH: There wasn’t no house rent.

10:00

MALCOLM: You lived -- did you live in a mill house?

GRIFFITH: Yeah. My Mama lived in a mill house.

MALCOLM: How was -- how was it like, living in a mill house? Was it -- you know, compared to maybe the house you living in now, or maybe the house that Anne and I live in.

GRIFFITH: Oh, well, you, you thought you were a little better, you know, that -- that --

MALCOLM: Was it a pretty good place to grow up in? You know, uh, a lot of people to play with, and --

GRIFFITH: It wasn’t open like a mill village. And you know, where the -- where the railroad crosses to go down, you know, where the mill is.

MALCOLM: Uh-huh.

GRIFFITH: You come on down, and the first turn up, that you go across down there. Go across the railroad, that first house there is the house that my Mama lived in.

MALCOLM: Remember when we was talking about earlier how the -- where I work at now, the personnel department in our union office, is where you used to go to school at.

GRIFFITH: Yeah. I went to school in front of the mill, now, in uh, uh, the 11:00personnel office. Them steps out there?

MALCOLM: Uh-huh.

GRIFFITH: I played on them when I was a little girl. But as I started to tell you, when I went in the mill, uh, when the school woman would come, in the mill, hunting kids, you know, that was in there, wasn’t -- supposed to have been in school, which I know I ought to have been, by now. But I didn’t know it then. I didn’t want to go. But still, I got my good education. I know how to read and write. I learn it after I got grown. And I can count money when I have it. I don’t have very much to count, but I can count what little bit I got.

MALCOLM: Ma, how’d you learn to read?

GRIFFITH: Huh?

MALCOLM: How did you learn to read?

GRIFFITH: Well, I just learned it. I picked it up. God give it to me. Why?

MALCOLM: I was just curious. It’s kind of hard to --

GRIFFITH: That’s right,

MALCOLM: -- hard to learn to read on your own. Uh, you remember, uh, how it was 12:00when Hoover was president during the Depression and how, if it got any better after Roosevelt got elected, and you know, he start putting social security?

GRIFFITH: Oh, yeah.

MALCOLM: How was it when Hoover was president during the Depression?

GRIFFITH: It was bad. I can tell you that. It was just starvation. That’s it. You couldn’t buy a job. And you just almost starved to death. I swept yards and cleaned yards and scrubbed floors and washed clothes up here in town, with these rich people, to make my baby a living.

MALCOLM: Did uh, you remember when, uh, when Hoover was president, do you remember having to work 12 hours a day? You know, and then when Roosevelt --

GRIFFITH: No, you couldn’t buy a job then.

MALCOLM: No, I’m talking about after, you know, you got to where you -- after things picked back up, and you could -- you finally did get you a job.

GRIFFITH: When Roosevelt took over, well then, I got me a job in the mill. And I worked about two weeks. I was working in the valley. In Lanett Mill. And 13:00uh, then they said they was going to split it up in shifts--

(break in audio)

GRIFFITH: Uh, Julie.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, we’ll start where we talked about, uh, we’ll get you to, uh, start talking about Roosevelt. Ask about when the -- when the, when the Blue Eagle came, and Roosevelt came in, and the Blue Eagle, and the NRA.

MALCOLM: Uh, we, we was talking -- talking about how after things picked up and you got started back to working the mill, and how some of the changes Roosevelt brought about with, with what I call it, the cide -- people call it different things. You know, when he got --

GRIFFITH: It was the pressure. You know, when, when uh, Roosevelt took over.

MALCOLM: Uh-huh.

GRIFFITH: Well, anyway, uh, they -- they come around, and they told us we had to sign up for our social security. And uh, I said, “What’s that?” I was dumb.

14:00

MALCOLM: I still wonder what it is. (laughs)

GRIFFITH: I said, “What’s that?” He said, “That --” the lady that signed me up told me, said, “That is your security when you get so old you can’t work. That you’ll grow it to live on.” And I said, “Well, that’ll be good.” So, uh, then they started taking, uh, tax and, and social security, you know, and stuff out on our checks, then.

MALCOLM: Well, uh, you worked at more than one mill, right?

GRIFFITH: Oh, yeah.

MALCOLM: Uh, would you like to tell us about some of the different mills you’ve worked at? Some of the different places you lived in?

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: Like, you -- you first started out, it, it was a -- Lanett --

GRIFFITH: Now, when I worked in Alabama City, I didn’t have that social security.

MALCOLM: You didn’t.

GRIFFITH: Uh-uh. I signed that up after I went to Lanett.

15:00

MALCOLM: Lanett Mill.

GRIFFITH: Yeah. But it was a good mill, and I liked to work in it. And uh, my mother was going to come to Opelika, and uh, no -- she was going to LaGrange. That’s right. I get it right. She was coming to LaGrange, to my sister, Annie-May. You know, the one that passed away here.

MALCOLM: Yes, ma’am.

GRIFFITH: And uh, anyway, uh, she want me to come with her, and I quit my job there to come over here to LaGrange. Well, I went to work in Hillside.

MALCOLM: Hillside.

GRIFFITH: Well, I didn’t like that too good, and the old boss, he accused me of tying a knot -- with a knotter when I was supposed to tie it with my fingers. But I didn’t -- I tied that knot with my fingers. But he said I tied it with a knotter, but I didn’t. I -- I can tie a weave knot about as good as you can.

16:00

MALCOLM: Probably better.

GRIFFITH: And you’re a weaver.

MALCOLM: No, I’m not a weaver.

GRIFFITH: And, uh --

MALCOLM: I’m a loom fixer.

GRIFFITH: Oh. I thought you was a weaver.

MALCOLM: No, my wife, Anne, she’s a smash hand.

GRIFFITH: Oh yeah, that’s right. But anyway, uh, he -- I got mad with him and I told him, I said, “Well, if that’s the way you feel about it, I’ll just go home.” I went home. And then uh, I come to Opelika and I got me a job in, let’s see now. Wait a minute. I’m getting ahead of myself.

MALCOLM: Well, just take your time. Let’s...

GRIFFITH: Then I went to live with my sister. My older sister, Janey.

MALCOLM: Uh-huh.

GRIFFITH: And uh... Then I went to, to the spinning mill, and uh... Then my, 17:00then I had to quit work then, my little girl. Me and my husband was living together, and he run off and went to his mama’s or somewhere, so I had to quit work and I live with my oldest sister, until my baby was born. And then I didn’t work no more, then, until she was about five or six years old. Iley, my daughter.

MALCOLM: Is, is that when you come to Opelika Mill, after that? Or was the mill...

GRIFFITH: No... Then, yeah. Yeah. She was about five or six years old when I went to walking up, down the railroad, from Opelika Mill to Pepperell. I got me a job in Pepperell.

MALCOLM: Tell a little bit how you got your job in the Pepperell Mill. How --

GRIFFITH: OK.

MALCOLM: -- how hard it was to get a job.

GRIFFITH: OK. I'd go down the railroad track, by myself. Boy, I'd be hitting 18:00it. Rain or shine, sleet or snow. I went. Well, I went around to the gate and uh, the old gate watchman wouldn’t let me in. And I decided, I know a way I will get in. So, they was bringing trucks around, at the back of the mill. So, that morning I met the trucks around at the back of the mill and they opened the gate at the back of the mill. I went in beside the truck, and boy, I hauled it upstairs. And I -- and he hired me. Well, I went back out by the old gate watchman. He asked me, said, “How’d you get in?” I said, “I come through the gate.” And he said, “You didn’t get no job.” I said, “I did. I’m coming to work tonight on the third shift.”

MALCOLM: You showed him, didn’t you.

GRIFFITH: Yeah. And I went to work on the third shift. But I come backwards 19:00and forwards up at, not on no third shift. Listen to me, I’m telling you wrong. It was on the night line.

MALCOLM: Night line.

GRIFFITH: Yeah. You know, they called it the --

MALCOLM: Was that a --

GRIFFITH: -- night line, and day line.

MALCOLM: Was that eight or twelve hours a day?

GRIFFITH: That was twelve. I went to work at 6:00 and got off at 6:00.

MALCOLM: Didn’t have much time to spend with your family, did you.

GRIFFITH: That’s right.

MALCOLM: Well, you remember when, uh, Roosevelt started making changes and all. Do you remember where it went from a twelve hour day to a eight hour day?

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: Well you know --

GRIFFITH: That was in the valley,

MALCOLM: -- right now, at the mill I’m working at, we work eight hours a day. And they’re trying to make -- to get it back to working twelve hours a day.

GRIFFITH: Oh, my goodness.

MALCOLM: But the thing good about it is that we have a union, and the people have to vote on it. And if they vote no, they -- the company won’t be able to do it.

GRIFFITH: No, I won't -- I don’t blame them.

MALCOLM: That’s one good thing about being --

GRIFFITH: I wouldn’t either.

MALCOLM: That’s one good thing about having a union. Is that you --

GRIFFITH: That’s right.

MALCOLM: -- is that you got a say, what happens to you.

GRIFFITH: That’s right.

MALCOLM: Not much, sometimes, but you got a little bit of say.

20:00

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: But get back to, uh, what did you do? You know, the job you got when you had to go with the truck. What job did you get, and what were you -- what was your job when you worked there?

GRIFFITH: When I worked on, in the -- I worked in the winding room, when uh, I went -- I changed shifts. They didn’t have them automatic spoolers. They didn’t know what they was. I was the first woman to ever put up an end on the automatic spooler. And now, well, uh, you know them winders had a drum that you let the cone down on.

MALCOLM: Mm-hmm.

GRIFFITH: You had to tie the knot. That’s how come that knot on my hand, there. You had to tie the knot. Go down on the drum. But these automatic spoolers, you didn’t. See, it had a traveler up on top, that picked up the thread. All you done was fill the pockets with thread and take the cheese off. 21:00They called them cheese. Big round wheels of thread.

MALCOLM: Mm-hmm.

GRIFFITH: You had to doff them off. I went to work, uh, on the winders one -- on the night -- on the night line in Pepperell.

MALCOLM: Well, did you, uh, like it better after you got to be an eight hour day? Was it easier?

GRIFFITH: Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah. You would, too.

MALCOLM: I like it now, eight hours. I don’t want to have to go to 12 hours.

GRIFFITH: Well, you go 12 hours and you give completely out.

GEORGE STONEY: Ask her what it was like. Heat, uh, working conditions, uh, rest rooms, all of that.

MALCOLM: When uh, when you was working in the mill, uh, you know, like probably not later on but when you first started working, you know. The times we’re talking about now. Was it hot, or too hot to work, or was there rest rooms? You know, were they nice, or you know -- what was the working conditions --

GRIFFITH: Oh, yeah. The, the -- the rest rooms was nice. They had a colored 22:00man clean them up.

MALCOLM: Was it, uh, hot in the mill?

GRIFFITH: Oh, yeah. It was awful hot.

MALCOLM: Was it? Was it -- it was hard to work?

GRIFFITH: But they raise the windows, you know, and let the air it, it wouldn’t be so hot.

MALCOLM: Uh, well -- during the summertime, I don’t imagine the windows helped too much, did they?

GRIFFITH: No, it didn’t.

MALCOLM: You know, we got -- now, we all, most of the mills got air conditioning, now. It’s not as hot in there.

GRIFFITH: Yes, sir.

MALCOLM: I don’t know if it’s so much for the people, or it’s so much that their machines can’t be hot no more, because now they got all them computers and all. That’s --

GRIFFITH: I worked down there in that Pepperell when the, when the water would drip off of my coattail.

MALCOLM: Oh, that was hot.

GRIFFITH: That’s right.

MALCOLM: Uh, so after you got on the eight hour days, did you see any more changes that helped you all out any, you know? Like maybe better pay, or like you said, the social security?

GRIFFITH: Oh yeah, yeah.

MALCOLM: What kind -- after the, uh, you got on the eight hour day, you know, we 23:00was talking about when you first went to work, you made $2.50 a week. Did it -- was it considerable improvement on your --

GRIFFITH: Well, no. Oh, they started that before this. They started that before you know, uh, let me see. Who was the president then? Who was the president back in ’29?

MALCOLM: Hoover?

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: Was it Hoover?

GRIFFITH: No, no... Wait a minute. Yes it was. Yeah, Hoover was the president in ’29. But I was thinking, ’25...

MALCOLM: But uh, say the pay started getting a little bit better, even --

GRIFFITH: Oh, yeah. The -- when I was making $2.50 a week, then the pay check 24:00raised up. They paid us $9 a week.

MALCOLM: But -- but --

GRIFFITH: But it was still in the pay slip. They didn’t write no checks. You had to wear that number, and if you didn’t call that number, you wouldn’t get your paycheck.

MALCOLM: If, uh, for some reason you lost your number or something, what did you have to do, then? I mean, how --

GRIFFITH: Well, they’d go back to the office and take it back to the office, and trace it up.

MALCOLM: But you would eventually get your money?

GRIFFITH: Oh, yeah. Yeah, Mr. Jim -- Jim Span was our paymaster.

MALCOLM: Uh --

GEORGE STONEY: Ask about any attempts at union.

MALCOLM: Do you remember any, uh, anybody trying to attempt to, uh, get a union anywhere you worked at? I know one place in particular, they tried to -- where they did get a union. Where I work at now, and you used to work there, too.

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: Let’s -- let’s just move kind of in the future a little bit to when you went to work for Opelika Manufacturing. Where I work at right now. What 25:00year was it, and how were things, and did you like it?

GRIFFITH: Well, we would move up, then. You mean, uh -- I went to work in the Opelika Mill ’47, ’48 -- ’48, when me and Mr. Griffith was married. And ’47. And I was still working in Pepperell. Well, let’s see. My mama died in ’56. And I was working in Opelika Mill then.

MALCOLM: Well -- save that track, but I think really, I got off track. Before that, do you remember anybody trying to get a union in the -- any plants you worked before that?

GRIFFITH: No.

MALCOLM: You don’t?

GRIFFITH: No, I don’t.

MALCOLM: OK, now let’s move up to Opelika. It was 1948 when you went to work there?

GRIFFITH: Fifty six, fifty seven...

26:00

MALCOLM: Does -- does that, Ma, does that date’s really, not important. We’ll just say late, late 1940s.

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: OK, what -- uh, what kind of products were they doing then? I know one time you told me it wasn’t a weaving operation then.

GRIFFITH: It was just a thread mill.

MALCOLM: Just a thread mill. What was -- what was your first job there?

GRIFFITH: My first job?

MALCOLM: At the Opelika plant.

GRIFFITH: Down here?

MALCOLM: Yes, ma’am.

GRIFFITH: Spooling.

MALCOLM: Spooling?

GRIFFITH: I was spooling, and then he took me off that and put me to re-spooling. And then, uh, I went from that to the spinning room, and uh, then I went from that to the winding room. And uh, I halved off twisters.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Let’s hold it just a moment.

GRIFFITH: This was -- tell me, I'd go with her a show her.

MALCOLM: You all want to --

JAMIE STONEY: No, we’re just on you.

MALCOLM: Oh, OK. You want her -- just talk to --

GRIFFITH: The ice is upstairs, honey.

27:00

HELFLAND: I found it, ma’am.

GRIFFITH: In a little blue tray. And the glasses. If you don’t want to drink out of them in the dish drainer, well, you can get you another glass.

JAMIE STONEY: Smile.

MALCOLM: Not a very good actor. (laughs)

GRIFFITH: Honey, set that gallon of milk in the refrigerator for me. A little boy set it out for the ice to melt.

MALCOLM: That’s nervous energy.

GRIFFITH: Where did Randy go?

MALCOLM: I think he’s still out on the porch.

GEORGE STONEY: He’s outside. He’s with the dog.

GRIFFITH: That’s OK.

(break in audio)

MALCOLM: Ma, what I want to ask you about, you know, we was talking about there wasn’t no unions back when you worked in the mill --

GRIFFITH: No, there wasn’t.

MALCOLM: What did you all do when, uh, say like if your supervisor was coming to you and said, “Well, you’re not running your job.” Or he was harassing 28:00you, and you [knowed?] you was running your job. How did y’all deal with problems that arise? You know, what -- what kind of steps did you all take to deal with them problems?

GRIFFITH: Well, uh, some of them talked pretty rough, and I talked pretty rough back to them. I said, “Now, I’m doing the best I can.” And they said, “Well, maybe your can ain’t big enough.” I said, “Well, you get me one that’s bigger.” I talk back to them. I didn’t let them run over me.

MALCOLM: Well you know, now, with, with our union, say like -- say like, my supervisor come up, told me, “Well, you’re not running your job good enough.” And I’m going to write -- see, what they do now is they write you up a disciplinary warning, and if you get four of them, they fire you. Well, what we got now, is with the union, is something called a grievance procedure, and you get to go meet with your -- you remember what a, they called them overseers, then.

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: Now we call them department heads.

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: You -- we, us, me -- say, me and a shop steward, which is like a, a 29:00lawyer -- he’s not a lawyer, but he’s like -- he’s the --

GRIFFITH: Yeah, shop steward. I know what you’re talking about.

MALCOLM: He -- with us, having a union, we can go talk to him, and if it -- that’s called a first step. And if we didn’t get it settled in the first step then we’d go meet with our personnel manager.

GRIFFITH: Yeah.

MALCOLM: And we had all these different steps, and then we got a thing called arbitration. And that’s one of the -- that’s one of the advantages of having a union. And I was just wondering, you know, say like -- you know, say like, you said you told your supervisor off and it still didn’t do any good. Did you have anything else you could do to try to get him off your back, you know? Say like, you done told him off and he’s still on your back. I mean, did you have anything else -- could you go to your, your overseer and talk to him about it, or --

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s try that --

GRIFFITH: No.