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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with James Pharis, July 24, 1977. Interview H-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Confronting a supervisor over unfair treatment

Pharis remembers suffering a poor relationship with a supervisor, who was determined to catch Pharis violating mill rules. He called the man out on his unfair treatment and was never bothered again.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with James Pharis, July 24, 1977. Interview H-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Do you remember some of the rules and regulations here?
They didn't allow smoking anywhere inside the halls. Lots of little silly things like that that didn't amount to anything. When I first went there, the supervisor wasn't even allowed to smoke. They had to go outdoors to go to shop and the headman of weaving… [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B] [TAPE 2, SIDE A] [START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
See I come from first shift there and he felt like they sent me to replace him, I think, because he worked on me just a little bit. And I was very careful not to break no rules. One day, he had to go outdoors to go to the shop and I was going to the shop to see about something and I met him. I was going one way and he was going another. I met him there in the alley of the plant. He know I was going to the shop. He felt sure when I got outdoors, I was going to smoke a cigarette. When I got to the shop (I walked awful fast in them days), I just run right in to him. He was aiming to catch me outdoors but I knew I wasn't going to smoke because it was a violation of the rules. He must have run a long ways because he was plimb out of breath. He thought he was going to catch me you know. Well, then they started another rule there that he had a board inside his office and every mistake that a supervisor made was put on that board. His name was put on the board with what his mistake was.
That was in Mr. Copland's office.
No, that was in Gregg's. He'd been pushing me pretty hard there and I was getting tired of it. So I was making notes of everything that was happening. Well, all supervisors make mistakes. So this particular mistake that he put up on the board… there's another man there in the weave room, he'd made a mistake much worse than I'd ever made and never did put his name up there. I never said a word. So there was a mistake made. I wasn't responsible for it. The filler hauler had put up some wrong filling on a loom down there and when they found it and took it down, they marked it up as a mistake to me not the filler hauler. They marked it up as a mistake to me on that board in the office in red and white chalk. One day I was in the office and Mr. Gregg is in there and he says, "Pharis, your name up on that board—that's two or three times you've been up there. Do you think it ought to be up there?" I says, "Yes sir, I think it ought to be up there." And I looked him straight in the face and says, "And anything else you can think of by putting it up there, it's alright. Put it up there. It's alright with me. Mr. Gregg, I make notes of what goes on here in this plant and I know what's going on. As many times as you want to put my name on that board, it's perfectly all right. Ain't nobody else up there but me. I'm the only one. You must think I'm dumb but I know everything that's going on here. I know all the mistakes they've made." You know, he never did put my name up there again.