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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vesta and Sam Finley, July 22, 1975. Interview H-0267. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Generational differences among the mill workers

As a new generation of workers came into the mill, the Finleys claim that they saw a difference in work ethic.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vesta and Sam Finley, July 22, 1975. Interview H-0267. 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

And then too, this new bunch that came in down here for the last few years, when they first came in down here they wanted to fire everybody over thirty-five years old, wasn't it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Workers?
VESTA FINLEY:
Yes. They laid off people down here, this young bunch that came in. All of them were young people; I don't know many of them at all that's down here now. But when the older people got out these young fellows came in right out of college, and they wanted everything run in an efficient way. All these people over thirty-five that couldn't come up to production, they were laid off or fired. They laid off and fired so many, 'til they got where they didn't have enough to run the machinery. And then they tried to get people back. Some of them did come back, and others went elsewhere. Lot of people from here were working in Morganton and different places.
SAM FINLEY:
I retired down there in 1956; I've been back seventeen times since then to work, anywhere from a day to six weeks. They'd get on the phone and want me to come back and help them; somebody had quit and they didn't have another fellow on the job.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you working at that time? When these young people came in?
VESTA FINLEY:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How long have you been out?
VESTA FINLEY:
I've been out about fifteen-twenty years. No, I wasn't working then. But then I have friends that was laid off, and they had to hunt jobs elsewhere. But they laid off so many. . . . And then too, the young people of today, they've been brought up in homes that didn't require any responsibility of them, and they want a job. They want the money. They go down there, and they give them about six weeks. They pay them learners' wages. Well, when they get to where they can run a job, then they quit; and then they draw, you know, so many weeks' unemployment. And they've had that trouble with them, because this younger bunch don't want to work and slave like the older people did. Unless they're tied up with a family or something they just don't do it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do most of them take a quit, or has that resulted in some better conditions, because they refuse to. . . .
SAM FINLEY:
Well, I'll tell you. The majority of the young ones today don't want to work, period.
VESTA FINLEY:
That's what I say; they've been brought up in homes that they. . . .
SAM FINLEY:
They never have had to work.
VESTA FINLEY:
Never have had any responsibility; their parents just. . . .
SAM FINLEY:
And they'll get the job; and as long as training is going on, all right. But when it comes to being responsible, they don't. Go somewhere else and learn something there.