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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Gladys and Glenn Hollar, February 26, 1980. Interview H-0128. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Workers shut down a glove factory to demand higher wages

Glenn Hollar describes the glove factory strike in greater detail. After an unhappy worker pulled the switch to cut power to the plant's machines, the plant owner showed up to explain to the strikers that he could not afford to increase their wages. The Hollars refused to strike, grateful just to be employed in the 1930s and enamored of their employer.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Gladys and Glenn Hollar, February 26, 1980. Interview H-0128. 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

ACQUELYN HALL:
What do you mean, somebody pulled a switch?
GLENN HOLLAR:
That was the main switch for controlling the juice that run all the machines.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, there's one switch that turns all the sewing machines on?
GLENN HOLLAR:
It would cut the whole thing, but most of them rows had a motor at each end. That would stop that row. But this here one, pull the one switch over on the wall, it would cut off all the juice.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So they actually did this?
GLENN HOLLAR:
Yes, they pulled it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And then what did they do?
GLENN HOLLAR:
Mr. Shuford come down there to see what was wrong, and he'd done heard a little bit about it, I guess. He come down there and talked to them. They didn't even leave the plant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So everybody was just sitting in their place?
GLENN HOLLAR:
They just stayed there, and they just let him talk. And he just give them a good talk, and, well, he might have made it sound a little critical(), too, but still he was telling the truth, because there was just nothing else to do. And he explained it to them. And they all went back to work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He told them that they weren't getting enough orders, that they couldn't pay any higher wages?
GLENN HOLLAR:
Well, yes. And they couldn't. They just wasn't shipping it out. There wasn't nothing moving much. Everything was dead, about. And then when Roosevelt got in and froze the money business, he didn't have enough to do anything with. A lot of the hands would loan him so much out of the payroll till everything got straightened up, and then he paid them back. It was some rough times along in there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did this incident take place?
GLENN HOLLAR:
I don't remember what year it was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the thirties?
GLENN HOLLAR:
Yes, it had to be in the thirties. The sewers were downstairs there in the basement at that time. I remember that, but I don't know what year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you working there at the time?
GLADYS IRENE MOSER HOLLAR:
Yes, but I don't remember what year it was.
GLENN HOLLAR:
Hugh was a little kid then.
GLADYS IRENE MOSER HOLLAR:
Yes, it was in the thirties.
GLENN HOLLAR:
It was the early thirties, I think. It had to be.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you think of all that? Were your friends involved in it?
GLADYS IRENE MOSER HOLLAR:
Oh, yes. There was some involved in it all over the plant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they try to get you to join in?
GLADYS IRENE MOSER HOLLAR:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you say?
GLADYS IRENE MOSER HOLLAR:
I didn't say anything, because, like Glenn, I was too glad to have a job and make what you could. And I knew, too, from him that Mr. Shuford didn't have orders for the gloves, and that it was hard for him to make it, that they couldn't pay any more. He was an honest man.
GLENN HOLLAR:
He was a man, if he'd see scraps of cloth laying on the floor or a cuff throwed down on the floor, and if he'd see you walk by it and you didn't pick it up, you could vow he'd get after you. Because he said that was the only way he made his money, off of their waste. See, they'd bale that waste up, scraps and stuff, and sell it. He said, "That's my profit, and there's where I make my money." Now he was a man like that. He didn't believe in wasting a thing.
GLADYS IRENE MOSER HOLLAR:
He even got after us about the toilet tissue. You know how it is in public rest rooms and things like that, how people are. They'll have it all over the floor and everywhere. He said, "Use all you need, but don't waste it." He wanted you to have what you needed, but he didn't want anything wasted. I'll never forget that.