From interviews with Local 391 members in Chapel Hill
This first question was asked while the strike was about one week old: What would you tell people was the reason for this strike?
Security. Security for my family. And just to make sure I've got a job in the next four years. By the time this contract here passes that they want us to take I might not have a full-time job next time. It might be just part-time. And that'll be all it is. I want a full-time job. I don't have a part-time life. I got a full-time life, I want a full-time job. I got full time bills. That's why I'm out here.
I'm here for my family. For my kids future when they grow up and get a job and better to be able to support them so that they can get the education they need that I never really had a chance to get. And that's why I want my full-time job. So I will have that money to send them to school and do the things I was never able to do. And to be able to support my kids and give them everything in life that everybody wants to do.
First thing, I want to go on the record and say that I appreciate the full-timers who are out here supporting us part-timers, because they're the ones who have the least to put on the line. They're not going to lose that much. They're established, they have good jobs, they work 40 hours a week.
So they're on the line trying to get us part-timers full-time jobs, trying to make sure that we get good wages for our families, that we have a secure environment for our work area and for our families in the future. So I think a lot of that is what this strike is about right now.
It's not about just trying to get more money, more money, it's a lot, it's more than just that. That's the most important thing I wanted to get across.
One woman on splitting up full time work among part time workers:
'Cause if you think about it now, between my husband and I, we don't make a lot of money, okay. We might be in that 40-45 [thousand dollar a year] range, and we find that- we only have two kids left at home now, and not three-and we find it hard to even make ends meet. I mean, if you take a lot of benefits or pay away, that's even going to make it harder.
Even a single parent who has to suffice on her own salary, I think a single parent making only 30,000 dollars a year-it's going to be really hard. The second question was asked after the strike settlement was announced: What are some ways that you think your efforts on this strike helped our communities?
Well, if we don't have full time jobs, if we go to part time, you don't have the money to spend into the communities, so you need a full time job so you can buy the necessary food, make the mortgage payments and car payments, and be able to do what you need to do to support your family and help your community
Back in the '40s, '50s and '60s when you worked for a company you became that company and that company took care of you. When the company grew, you grew with the company. But now, the company wants you to make them grow, but then the company wants to kick you aside like you're nothing.
I think it just shows that workers are tired of being pushed around by these big corporations and sometimes you need to stand up and fight for what you think you deserve-and what we all think we deserve.
I think it's the everyday person that has sent a message to corporate America saying that downsizing...part-time stuff-it's just not the way to go. It's not a good foundation to build anything on, a family, or a business, or for the nation as a whole. I think we're just kind of getting tired of it a little bit.
They want you to work here part time, they want to give you part-time wages, part-time benefits, but they want you to treat it as a full-time job. They want you to be responsible, they want you to show some initiative, and accept responsibility.
Another adds: And be available to work all day long if they need you.
First speaker continues: And the next day they might not.
You know, it's gotten to be a disposable world.
Another adds: That's it man, a very plastic world.
First speaker continues: Human bodies are becoming disposable bodies with the corporate people. They just want to use us. When they get through with us, dispose us off to the side and go on.
If the companies want you to do dedicate yourselves to them then they need to dedicate themselves to us and give us full-time jobs and keep us working.
We're just all glad that-hope that-this strike is over, so that we can go back to work and start building the community again.
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