Its dog eat dog in textile

Workers’ correspondence

I recall being told when I was very young that if I worked hard for my employer I would always have a job. This may have been true decades ago, but today it’s dog eat dog and the devil take the rest.

We at Western Textiles found out in May of 2003 that we would no longer have a job by year’s end. When the company asked for more production and set a goal for us to reach, we did so and more. We increased our productivity and earned the owners a handsome profit, but in their opinion it was not enough. They decided to transfer the production to Mexico where the labor cost is 70 cents per hour.

Most of the employees had been there for over 30 years and one nearing retirement had been there 37 years. Needless to say, the loss of our jobs caused a lot of stress and hardship as well as discouragement. Most of us stayed on the job till the end, hoping that they would change their minds, but the allure of cheap labor was too strong. One of the line workers commented, “It’s a shame that our livelihood has to depend on the stock market.” So with some worthless platitudes and a meager severance package, we were on our own.

If things remain unchanged, more jobs will be lost and the rolls of the unemployed will swell. The fault is not in the working class, but in the ruling class that makes trade agreements that sell-out the workers like they have been doing for years. We were left out in the cold by people who have no concept of what it means to earn a living.

– Frank Egger, textile worker, Millington, Tenn.