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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Yelton compares different work venues and jobs

Yelton contrasts hosiery and textile mills, men's and women's jobs and being paid by piece or by hour.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
You like hosiery better than textiles?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. I loved inspecting. But, you know, that's gone out. They're all on four-in-one now, and inspecting's gone out.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why did you like it better?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know. I got to sit down. I could sit better than I could stand. It's just something I liked. You know, if you like a job you can do it lots better.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What are some of the differences between working in a hosiery mill and working in a textile mill?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
In a textile mill, you've got to stand up most of the time; you can't sit down. And it's lots different, because you make yarn.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't see the product that you make.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, you don't see the product, because you just see the yarn that you make and take off. It goes down into the weave room, and it makes material in the weave room. It weaves in the weave room. And out in a hosiery mill where you have a product, you work with the product, the sock. We made men's hose, and then they did make some leotards for women. And they did make some for men. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever work in full-fashioned hosiery?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No, never in a finishing plant. I was always in the knitting. division. Now the finishing plant for the knitting division over here is in H , Duke Hosiery finish, and then they do send some of them to Burlington. But ours was just the making, the knitting and the inspecting and the seaming, over here. Then in the finishing plant they board them and pair them, put them in boxes, and all like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the earlier days, did different kinds of people work in hosiery than worked in textiles, or would you say it was pretty much the same?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
It's pretty much the same.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Pretty interchangeable.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes. It was more men I worked around in textiles than I did in hosiery, because the only men in the part I worked out here was the shipping clerk and his helper. And then we did have a boy that gave out the work, but now they have women doing it.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why didn't more men work in hosiery?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They do fix. Fixers is about all they is in the hosiery mill.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What are the best paid jobs?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Fixers. They get paid real good. I don't know just exactly, but they really get paid good.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How about knitters?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They're the next, although they said that the inspectors got more than they did, but they didn't. The inspectors is the least paid.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I don't know, but they are. That is, on production, but some of the ones on hour work just gets the minimum wage, which is $2.90, I believe, now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you like being an inspector so much if it was the lowest paid?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
What we did, we got paid good on ours. We got real good. Sometimes I made four and four-fifty an hour. This was on piecework. It was according to how much they paid a dozen for the socks, you see, in inspecting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you were fast enough that you could ...
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Most of them now makes anywhere from three to three-thirty to four dollars an hour. But when I first went to work out there for Red Haker, he paid by the hour. Seventy-five cents I got an hour out there when I first went to work in 1952.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did that compare with the wages that you got in the textile mill?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I believe it was about $2.30 an hour when I went to work in textiles. It wasn't too much. Of course, every six months or every year they give you a raise. It didn't differ too much. And that's another thing. They said some of them asked him out there when they was going to get a raise again. He said he didn't know when they would. [Laughter] So I don't know, back and forth. There may be a lot more quitting from it.