Title: Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101.
Interviewer: Cowie, Jeff
Interviewee: Jones, Ivey C.
Subjects: Furniture industry and trade--North Carolina Furniture workers--North Carolina White Furniture Company North Carolina--Social conditions Jones, Ivey C.
Abstract: Ivey C. Jones took a job at the White Furniture Factory in Mebane, North Carolina, after high school and stayed there until new management closed the plant in 1993. In this interview, he recalls his sixteen years at the plant in a variety of positions, focusing on the period between the purchase of the factory by a competitor and the new owners' decision to shut it down. Jones's recollections emphasize an important change in one of the industries—in this case furniture—that have driven the economy of the North Carolina Piedmont for decades. The takeover of the White Furniture Factory brought a shift from a personal management style that responded to the needs of workers as community members to a more distant, profit-driven approach that put much greater stress on workers' economic contributions. Jones still resents this transition, which altered the atmosphere on the factory floor as demoralized employees, fearful for their jobs, struggled to meet escalating quotas. This interview highlights the fragility of the furniture industry by and the workers' struggle to maintain both their economic security and their humanity in a changing economic region.