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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vickie Jacobs, December 11, 1993. Interview K-0100. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Rules at the White Furniture Factory

Jacobs explains the rules at the White Furniture Factory: smoking was limited, a dress code was enforced, and the company used a point system to award employees for productive behavior.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vickie Jacobs, December 11, 1993. Interview K-0100. 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

What kind of rules did the company have for the employees?
VICKIE JACOBS:
First, no smoking and especially in the bathrooms. Smoking only in the smoking area. They had a rule that if you are not there--. They have a point system and if you're not there, let's say, five minutes after, well, maybe one minute after seven you're going to get like a quarter of a point. Or if you didn't call in at all you'd get two points. They were, to me, they weren't that strict. They were strict but not that strict. Most of White's--I'm talking about Hillsborough now--there is no smoking especially in the bathrooms especially . [laughter]
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
[laughter]
VICKIE JACOBS:
Absenteeism.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
Talk to me a little bit more about this point system. How did that work?
VICKIE JACOBS:
If you get eight points. O.K. if you get five or six points you get written up. If you get seven or eight points you'd be terminated. You have twenty days to work off your points. (
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
O.K. for that twenty days you have to work off the points what are some of the things you have to do in that twenty day period?
VICKIE JACOBS:
Well, you got to make sure you don't be out anymore or be late. You just have to work a whole month without being late or not coming in at all or anything. You have to be there to work off that one point or either a half a point or whatever to keep from getting written up or either terminated.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
So regardless of how many points you've gotten--. Let's say, you've gotten two points as oppose to eight points, you would still have a twenty day period, would still apply regardless?
VICKIE JACOBS:
Regardless. If you only have like a half a point in the whole time you've still got that twenty days to work off that half a point. You know, they won't go against you like if you were closer to eight points, but you still have twenty days to work off that half.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
How did you feel about that system?
VICKIE JACOBS:
It was O.K. I guess .
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
When I first asked you about the two points I was thinking in the back of my own mind that it wasn't really fair. But then again, it gives you the opportunity not to accumulate enough points to be terminated.
VICKIE JACOBS:
Right.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
So in many ways they were really helping you out.
VICKIE JACOBS:
Yeah.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
Now I understand--interesting. Any rules on talking while doing your work or dressing or anything kind of other ?
VICKIE JACOBS:
Dressing, no hot pants, you'd have to have shorts down to your knees. Talking, they should never say that because we like talking. [laughter]
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
[laughter]
VICKIE JACOBS:
Dressing in shorts--. Some departments now it depends what kind of tops you wear (ladies). If they are showing your belly they don't let you do that. You've got to have on your underclothes especially your brassiere. . [laughter]
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
That's funny.
VICKIE JACOBS:
Yeah, that's funny.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
So in some ways dress codes didn't always apply to men. You're saying there was a different dress code for women than men?
VICKIE JACOBS:
Yeah, mostly.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
Any complainants about that from women?
VICKIE JACOBS:
No.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
Really?
VICKIE JACOBS:
No complainants.