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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 >>

Cobb freely left jobs she didn't like

Because she did not have children, Cobb says, she felt greater freedom to leave jobs that she did not like. Because of this, she quit when she had a task she did not enjoy or felt that the company was instituting a stretch out.

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:
Did you have to quit any jobs that got on your nerves?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Oh, yes, I quit a few that got on my nerves.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of jobs would that be?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
At Modena they tried to put me on a warp machine one time, and I never did like to run them. Because it was confinement; you had to stay right there on it. And theirs didn't run too good, and I didn't want it. And I had to quit to get away from there. But I wasn't home for two days, they sent down for me to wind. So I quit, just rebelled against doing it. And I hurt myself when I got my Social Security. They was putting in the stretchout system at Rex, and they laid you off according to seniority of how long you'd been there. Ones that had been there the less got laid off. And I had been there seventeen years--I was there a little over nineteen years when I got hurt--at the time. And the day Kennedy was swore in for President on the twentieth day of January, my second hand come to me and said, "All right, Cobb, you can come in on the third shift Sunday night." See, I had to take somebody else's job. But I'd done went up to the unemployment office and asked Brockman--I knew him--"Is it a law that I have to take another person's job?" And I told him how it was. He said, "You do not have to do that. You can draw your unemployment." I said, "Now, Mr. Brockman, that woman might have kids-- I don't know whose job I'm going to take-- and I ain't got none, and I don't want to take nobody's job." He said, "You've got the first choice at the layoff. You don't have to take somebody else's job." So when he come to me and told me that, I asked him first, "Have you got a job for me open on the third shift?" He said, "No, we'll lay off the other woman and give you the job." I said, "No, you won't. I don't take other people's jobs." And he said, "Well, let's go out and see the super." Jack Ryan was super, and I told Jack Ryan, "All I want is that little paper, 'No work available.' I ain't going to take another woman's job." He said, "I can't make you do it." I said, "I know you can't. I done been and see."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why were they going to do that? Why were they going to lay off another woman?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They were stretching out the jobs, putting more on them. They had more hands than they could work. And I thought that was the last layoff. And Jack Ryan, the super, asked me, "If I send after you and I need a hand, will you come back?" I said, "Yes, provided it's on the first shift." So I loafed six months and two weeks. And Kennedy put thirteen weeks on the unemployment after everybody drawed out, and I done drawed one week of his. I drawed my six months and one week of his, and they sent after me. And it was on the thirtieth day of July. I never will forget; that was the hottest time I've ever knowed. And me had been loafing and having a good time. I was drawing my unemployment; I was just eating() fine. And I went back in that plant, and I thought I would die, it was so hot. They wanted me to go to work on Thursday, and I wouldn't do it. So I went to work on Monday, and I'd signed up on a Tuesday. When I got out the Tuesday I went [back to work?], my husband took me by the unemployment office and I signed out. And I told the man I wouldn't be signing up any more, that I went back to work. And the man that signed me up at the unemployment said, "You know what I'd have done? I'd have stuck a gun in my pocket and shot whoever sent after me [laughter] , hot as it is." And I worked two years and till August, and I got hurt, so I worked there nineteen years.