David C. Hamilton
David Hamilton

Fellowship Title:

Conversations With Workers I, 1972

David Hamilton
November 6, 1972

Fellowship Year

(RECITATION): I dedicate this song to the working man, for every man that puts in eight or ten hard hours a day of work and toil and sweat, who’s always got somebody looking down his neck trying to get more out of him than he really ought to have to put in.

  1. After twenty-nine long years of working in this shop with ONEY standing over me,
    Today when that old whistle blows I’ll check in all my gear and I’ll retire.
    The superintendent just dropped by and said they’d planned my little get-together,
    Then he said I’d never made it if old ONEY hadn’t a-held me to the fire.

  2. I’ve seen him in my dreams at night and woke up in the morning feeling tired,
    And old ONEY don’t remember when I came here how he tried to get me fired,
    With his folded hands behind him every morning ONEY waited at the gate,
    Where he’d rant and rave like I committed murder, clocking in five minutes late.

  3. But today they’ll gather ‘round me like I’ve seen ‘em do when any man retires;
    Then old ONEY’s gonna tell me from now on I’m free to do what I desire.
    He’ll present me with that little old gold watch they give a man at times like this,
    But there’s one thing he’s not counting on, today’s the day I give old ONEY his.

  4. I been working building muscles, ONEY’s just been standing ‘round a-getting soft,
    And today about four-thirty I’ll make up for every good night’s sleep I’ve lost.
    When I’m gone I’ll be remembered as a working man that put his point across
    With a right hand full of knuckles, ‘cause today I show old ONEY who’s the boss.

(Ad lib) Hum what time is it? 4:30? Hey, ONEY? ONEY! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Copyright 1972 by Passkey Music. (Contact Passkey Music Co. at 808 16th Avenue South, Nashville, Tenn., for permission to reprint lyrics.)



It is not by accident that Business Week recalls the Luddites in an essay on Productivity. Boy these fellows can be mean when they set their minds to it. And right now they have, some of them at least. Just how many, now that’s a tough nut. You could start by saying it’s hardly an epidemic. But then count the wrenches in the framework of the Vega (or just accept General Motors’ contentions) and listen as an industrial engineer tells you that productivity (meaning in this case actual labor per man hour) in the United States is estimated at 40 percent.

(Time out: “Productivity” is getting to be quite an overburdened piece of terminology, probably a halo effect from President Nixon’s frequent crabbing about it. Labor and economic statistic gatherers apparently have attached three separate but intermingled meanings to it. One is used above. A second, similar reference is to output per man hour. The third is called total factor productivity and is a description of output, taking into consideration input. The term is used most often in its second reference, but actually is most useful in its third. The problem is no one has figured out how to accurately calculate total factor productivity, so they just guess at it. It is unfortunate that someone told the President this word. Users of it should be severely questioned.)

So you have this Lordstown and its ilk and the shameful fact that the factory workers of America are found by their superiors to be goldbricking most of the time, and you have to wonder, I mean in a country that is the work ethic, what is going on? Maybe it is an epidemic. But then you have the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that output per man hour in U.S. industry has rather steadily risen during the last 25 years, and you talk to fellows who work 58 hours a week, every week. The shadow of Lud might be on the land, yes, but only the shadow.

The Shadow


Men work neither so long nor so hard as they once did. That gives them time and energy to talk about their work. Work: instant conversation.

Here is a sample too good for Vance Packard and not good enough for Herbert Gans (no science, no book sales, no bullshit): four females, one black, six skilled, one clerical, two young, three old, four relatives, one who proved in second grade he was a better speller. No names. Some of these folks are tearing at the fabric of America. All have at least one blue collar, reside in the middle of America and dream. One has no children. For a grand total of 16. That’s productivity.

Imagine A Round Table


Remember the brouhaha a season back over the flourishing of composite characters in current (non)fiction. Take this sample, give it a name like Early Henry Stamper, black hair curling into an impudent comma over the left eye, a wink, a nod, a rude tongue and a penchant for beer, and let it talk. No, no. Instead, imagine if these 16 sat around a table: instant conversation. Of course, if they did sit around a table,…well, just imagine a round table. Composite table.

Freight Train


“Young workers don’t give a damn. They want three dollars an hour or they say the hell with you. These are the young people I’m talkin’ about, somebody’s eighteen t’ twenty-two. I’m not sayin’ it’s wrong; I’m sayin’ it’s a hell of a trend.

“It’s a funny thing, they don’t want to do anything with their hands. I don’t know, it’s a funny thing…uh…maybe we overwork people, maybe it’s permissiveness, I don’t know. In the Thirties now you didn’t have a hell of a lot of rights and you wanted to protect your job. I would do anything….We weren’t too damned concerned about ourselves… We fortunately couldn’t afford this. We never had the opportunity to worry about whether our emotions were being hurt by someone calling us an SOB.

“I worked on the railroad, you know, and those rails weighed a hundred and twenty pounds per foot. You had this constant cursing…maybe you had to go take a leak or we had a water bucket…. Take a lot of abuse from the straw boss (‘Get the hell out of here’). There were six guys outside the fence waitin’ for your job. You know, you had to see-saw ties with a shovel, cause every rail had to be up to level. It was like an assembly line, you never quit. Now I thought if I could get a job as a spiker, that’d be…ten hours a day for two dollars a day, I believe. That was in 1932.

“This is the kind of experience you get and you appreciate any job you get.

“These impressions are not valid, you know, they’re just my impressions of the change goin’ on. I believe it must be environmental. I don’t know….If I was young, I’d probably be doin’ the same as them.”

Coffee Soup


He raised up seven sons and two daughters in those days, when they said you had to be with the railroad or a newspaper to have steady work. They don’t mention coffee soup much these days up on Second Ave. (because they never heard of it, these people who were invented by World War II), but that was the meal some days, and two of the sons died along the way and the rest pulled onions out of the muck part time for flavor and ten cents.

“Weed onions for ten cents an hour and what did it get you? It got you into a movie, that’s what, it got you candy, it got you ice cream. You could do things for a dime; you can’t do it now. You can’t get a kid nowadays t’ do nothin’. It doesn’t get him into a movie.

“If I had it to do all over again I might get married, but I’d never raise kids. Tell you the truth, I hate to see my kids come up, because as bad as it is right now, can you think what it’s gonna be like in another 10, 15 years?”



“He works on an assembly line.
“Works on a what?” “Assembly line.”
“I don’t work on an assembly line.”
“Well, piecework.”
“Piecework, incentive, it ain’t an assembly line.”
“Piecework and incentive.”
“No, assembly line is where you assemble something. I don’t do that.”
“I run a machine.”

“When they sent me up there to the seminar, they didn’t want the operator…they didn’t want ’em both together. Because, well, you get an operator and a maintenance man together, and then the operator will get t’ thinkin’ that he knows more than the maintenance man and right there you’ve got a jangle. I’ve seen it happen. The operator has ideas of his own and the maintenance man has ways of his own and you get ‘em together and they can’t get together. But I ain’t sayin’ that you couldn’t get your heads together for to better the product, or to better the way of gettin’ it. I ain’t sayin’ you couldn’t get together that way,”

“Okay, now they have quotas of orders….You know I never kept up with that quota? Never did! Never! I’m sittin’ here tellin’ you that I prob’ly haven’t made that quota three times in seven years. There are some guys who make it. They get the gravier type orders more often than say I would. I get more shit orders. A shit order, that’s where you gotta run all over the place and you put about 30 minutes in and you got about twelve, fifteen cartons, six of these an’ half a dozen of those ‘way over there; whereas a gravy order is where you gotta go to one spot an’ grab a whole pallet or somethin’ or you go to a truck an’ grab whole pallets of somethin’ an’ pencil it an’ put a packaging order on it. So there’s a psychological advantage here once you’re ahead of someone, you really have more loaf time, even though you haven’t done as much work. And…it happens a lot.”

“We don’t have piecework, but it’s time-studied so they know what they expect. You know, with your time study you can put out so much — but not all the time you can, I was working in a place where they told this man “If you tear up all these rates we’ll make you foreman,’ — and they did, they made the man a foreman. He tore up all the rates, then the guy that had to follow him couldn’t do it. So there they got ya, see.”



“I’ll tell you one thing they do. They hire in say ten new guys and they put out a new product line that they don’t need any extra help on, and they write to Washington for a price raise. See that qualifies for a price raise (under federal wage/ price quidelines). Then they raise the prices and in 29 days, before the union can get ahold of ‘em, it’s out the door for those ten guys.”

“One thing gripes me, it really does. They only pay overtime at the end of the month. I did the work — you put in fifty, sixty hours in a week — that’s my money — and they’ve got it in a bank makin’ money off it.”

“Well, it’s just like there was an article in the paper not too long ago…I can’t think of the name of the company…where they stated that they was gonna move. That as far as their profit and, uh, stuff was concerned, they was makin’ a profit — there was no gripe there. But then the following day an article came out in the paper where it said the company would take a two-year extension in their contract without a raise in them two years, or they was gonna move. Now see, what was the reason for that? I mean, it’s gotta be greediness on the company’s part. There was no reason for ‘em to move if they was makin’ a profit.”

“They keep takin’ stuff away from you. We used to have a Christmas bonus we don’t get no more, They took that away from us — no reason or no nothin’. They just stopped it. But you could surmise why. They thought that this new plant that they had built wasn’t turning over, I mean they weren’t makin’ their money like they thought they would. The wanted to get it all back in one chunk, I think.”

“Say you get — on incentive, see, you can make out in six hours. Well, you got two hours to horse around if you want to. But if they see you do it, they’ll come up and say, ‘Well let’s see what your rates are,’ and they’ll call a time study down, re-time you. We’ve got a guy in down there now that’s really a pusher, I mean he’s gonna get everything outta there he can get. And he don’t care who he steps on to get it.”

“We’ve got a young fella, down there that’s foreman, uh, they took him off the floor and made him foreman. Now when he was runnin’ a machine, he was workin’ third shift, I used to work right beside him and we’d get t’ talkin’; and held tell me how he slept that night, y’ know, an’ how his foreman had slept an’ so on an’ so forth. But now that the shoe’s on the other foot, it’s a little different. It’s push, push, push, see, he knows all the gimmicks, ‘cause he was down there on the floor.”

“Okay, years ago I used to bust my ass for the company, you know, then I started noticin’ that I was always gettin’ overloads, I was always gettin’ overloads. Then I started screwin’ the company. Like I started lookin’ through those dudes an’ when I seen an overload comin’, I let the sonofabitch go empty, an’ see, you had an overload in the first place, so that really threw it to ‘em. I screwed the company for about six months, then I quit gettin’ overloads.”

“There’s no hidin’ about it, You know, when I first started workin’ there, you know they’d say to me, you know some of the guys used to worry about sittin’ down in front of the foreman, shoot I never did, I’d sit…I’d sit down right in front of him… you know…. It didn’t bother me, you know, ‘cause, like, you been doin’ a job half-decently, what difference does it make?”

“Well, it’s sort of like, I don’t know how you would explain it, if, uh, somebody keeps on nagging at you all the time, now you’re gonna do something to get back at him, right? Well, it’s the same way in production. See, if you’ve got finishes, say you’ve got to put on maybe a certain valve or somethin’, well what do you care what it looks like? It’s supposed to have a 125RMS finish, you put a 30ORMS finish on it, What do you care, you don’t have to buy it, you know, as long as you make your money. They’re practically askin’ for it. I tell ‘em, I’m just makin’ out that’s all, you cut my rate to where I can make it, then I’ll give you a good job. “

Man vs. Machine


“No, a man could never compete with the machine, a man could never put out what the machine puts out.” “I know, but they could kick up their force, though, I mean, and their production, with men.”

“Management, they figure that this machine puts out, well, what two men could do, but they ain’t there to see that that machine can’t be perfect, like a man could. A man does something, it could be perfect, because he can see, and do, and if he’s skilled, he can do it. But this machine, it’s programmed for something else, it don’t hold up, it can’t hold up. But the men that don’t see it don’t know why you can’t double production without adding men — and they want to double profit without the men. Well, they’re makin’ it do different and doin’ things with it that it wasn’t designed to do…and it’s workin’, but not like they expected. It was designed say for makin’ cups like this, all day long, every day. But then if you come around and put a damned ashtray in there, what’s gonna happen? It won’t put out no hundred and twenty molds an hour.”

“You know what this big shot said, he come out and give us a lecture that ‘Don’t worry about your job, because if we get in a machine that does your work, at the other end we’ll have to have more men to do this part of the operation.’ It did prove out, on our particular one.”

“Now this guy, he’s talkin about bringin’ in robots. Yes, sir, I’d like to have brought that article home that he put up on the board. To replace the men. They’re already gettin’ machines in down there to replace two and three machines. Yeah, sure, and they lay people off, or somewhere down the line this guy don’t get to come in because he’s replaced by a guy shuffled down.”

Pep Talk


“You know, I went into a plant, the first thing they lectured you for — ‘Don’t ever get it into your head that you can’t be replaced.’ And it stuck with me all through. And this is true: You can be replaced but the machinery can’t — some machinery can’t be replaced. So there they told you which one they thought the most of. And if you broke three pieces of machinery in a year’s time, you was out.”



“We were like stuck on them jobs — every day I had that job. You know, after six months doin’ that shit they finally got down to the point where they were gonna start switchin’ jobs off?”

“The match factory, how many years ago was I there? When I went in there, they put me on one machine, I had to feed covers to the machine. Next day they wanted me to do two, and if I’d of stayed there over the week that I did, I’d of been up to seven, and they’d still expected more. They say that after you get your billing there, it just comes like — this is something that you’d have to do day in and day out, day in and day out. Now they turn around and they’ve got machines that’ll do this, and they have that man out of work.”

“Down there now, if we had men puttin’ out what that automatic machine puts out we would have to have, let’s see, we’ve got one machine that’s got two men — one man can put out in a day what that machine puts out in an hour. You’re talkin’ about twenty-four men to replace, to equal that machine.”

“The company has an agreement with the union that a man can run no more than two machines,but now they’re puttin’ pressure on ‘em into runnin’ three. Well, it can be done — one man can do it, because the machine does the work, now don’t get it wrong, but what happens to the labor force? It’s cut in (whistles down the scale while pointing thumbs-down). That’s why I ain’t workin, at the B&W no longer — they brought in a machine that took, uh, eight men around the shift to do, and they do it in four hours with the machine. What happened to those other men? And they’re gonna do the same thing at the plant I’m at now,”

“You know I think the particular advantage to me of the automated system is, uh…. There is no advantage to it.”

The Good Life


“What I want to know is what they want all this production for. Why do you want to produce 100 refrigerators a day for if you can’t get rid of ten of ‘em?”

“That incentive, aw, it’s a pain in the neck. If you cared anything about the way you’s puttin’ it out, you couldn’a made the rate they had. T’ make a decent livin’, you gotta make the percentage. You don’t care about the product. That’s the way they treat you, that’s the way they feel, so why shouldn’t you treat them the same way?”

“It’s like down there at the rubber shop, where I work, some of the jobs on the mills and that, where they’ve had four men runnin’ it, they’ve tried cuttin’ it t’ two. And these guys, what they’re gettin’ is nothin’ but scrap. Nothin’ but. I mean, we’re losin’ money — I don’t see how they keep goin’ the way they do, and I mean, they’re not the only shop, but scrap, scrap, scrap — well, you can’t sell it. And they get orders back and wonder why. Sure they’re under financial pressure…it just seems, I mean, so many of us talk about it, that if they’d put out good quality…”

“They can keep push, push, push, ‘til finally you get to the point where you don’t give a damn, and your product’s gonna look the same way. And you can see it every day on the road, you can see it every day you buy something — look at the stores, look at your clothes, what do you get? Look at how they’re putting it out, how they’re producing it, I mean they want quantity, not quality,.That’s why you buy something it falls apart…I mean it just don’t stand up.”

High On The Hog, So To Speak


“Well, you know, you try to make the money. The money’s what you’re in there for. I don’t care about anything else, I’m just after the money.”

“They say this county is better off financially now than it’s ever been. Well now, who do they consider is better off, you know, financially? There’s a lot of people livin’ up to here in hock. They got to take their checks to the bank to have them pay their bills and what’s left over they get. They call that livin’ high on the hog so to speak, but I don’t call it that.”

“See, if I could bring home in 40 hours what I do in 58, I’d be satisfied. But really, I’d say I’m makin’ less every year but gettin’ more on the hour. They’re takin’ more outta ya. Even if you could bring home what you made without any deductions of any kind you’d be all right. But gee whiz, state tax, city tax, income tax, property tax and all that. You can’t make a livin’ wage without overtime.”

“Well what would you say that the cost of living has gone up in the last five years? Twenty percent? All right, I’ll bet that in the last five years my income hasn’t went up $2,000. What is this, ‘72? Well from ‘67 up to ‘72 I’ll bet my gross income hasn’t went up $2,000 in them five years. And if it keeps on, we won’t even be eligible for full benefit on Social Security.”

“Their base rate’s $2.41 an hour, an’ you can make up t’ four dollars, five dollars an hour. But, uh, you gotta be there quite a while before you get the good jobs. You can’t bring home a decent paycheck ‘til you work through your dinner an’ all your breaks. An’ you know you can’t leave your machine. Even $125 a week when you got $128 house payment an’ a $80 car payment, you don’t save too much with four kids.”

“How the devil can you save nowadays? I tried it — I tried it. We got a credit union and they’ll deduct so much out of your check. So I thought, well, I’ll be a big deal, I’ll just put five dollars a week in. So I got up to $119 and the hot water heater went. There went $119. “

“I worked for a farmer for one week, an’ I was just a little shaver, liftin’ them hundred-pound sacks’a feed around an’ stuff an’ I thought boy at the end’a the week I’m really, you know, gonna cash in. You know what he give me? A dozen ears’a corn an’ a dog. “

The Differential


“There was a plumber came in down there an’ worked with us — he was layed off — and…course they have their pros and cons too — they don’t work year ‘round but they make a big chunk for their work. They have to pay more out than what we do hourly, ‘cause the company picks up the tabs on some of the things — but still, if you got him up there at nine dollars an hour and your makin three…He can buy an awful lot more than you can. Okay, so he only works six months a year — if he can get it — he’s gonna make twelve thousand in that six months and you’re gonna make eight in a year. Boy, what a differential!”

“You know there’s a lotta guys that work over at the shop in Lodi where I used to work, they’re makin two and a half an hour. When their car breaks down they gotta pay eight dollars an hour t’get it fixed. Some way they oughta combine all these wages together, I believe, and everybody get paid a little more even. I mean, a construction worker works hard but he doesn’t work any harder than the guy over’t the shop carryin’ steel railings off his truck all day long.”



“I’ve had one vacation in twelve years — and that one it took us twelve years to get the money to do it. And there’s twelve more went by and we still ain’t able to.”

Getting Ahead


“Myself, I don’t wanna be a millionaire, ‘cause first of all I know I’ll never be. But all I wanna do is live comfortable — what I call comfortable. I don’t want no yacht or anything like that, I just wanna maybe buy a new car every three years and have enough money out of the paycheck to buy a case of beer at the end of the week if I want to. Which you can’t now, the average man can’t do that.”

“I’ll put it this way, I could probably get a better job if I just decided to kiss ass, an’ started bein’, oh, on the ball. But first off, I’m typically lazy, you know, like unmarried guys are typically lazy? So what does that mean? That means if I wake up an’ don’t feel like goin’ t’work, I get on the phone an’ tell ‘em that my feet hurt, or I got a headache, uh, an then when my paycheck comes back, I just do without. Now if I was workin’ in an office, I couldn’t do that,”

“Here’s an example — this was years back. They had this super guy worked in the office and I got to know him, and he had this coalition against him. He had these enemies and they messed around and ousted him and he had this high position, and when they ousted him one of his enemies attained a position higher than him! The point I’m trying to make is that…. I was just thinking, if shit like that happens, what’s gonna happen to me if I catch myself movin’ up?

Campbell Gets His Reward


“Couple years ago they pull this dude in, for superorganizing you might call it. One of the first things he did, he started cuttin’ back on the work force, the salaried work force. And, uh, I had this friend named Campbell in the office an’ Campbell was probably workin’ here fifteen, seventeen, twenny years, he was a wheel. Okay, you figger this was the reason: Campbell was one of the best friends the worker ever had. They walked up to Campbell one day and told him he was goin’ to Chillicothe. And that’s a bad somethin’ — it’s happened t’other people too — that a man’s been walkin’ around here fifteen years an’ he’s on a salary you know, an’ the guy just decided Campbell was gonna go you know, an’ Campbell tol’ ‘im he didn’ wanna go. Campbell got canned. Campbell got canned. Campbell got canned. He was with the company all that time and he got canned ‘cause he didn’ wanna go t’Chillicothe. Had all his roots here. Deep roots. It’d been different if they were just shallow roots. You know, he’s pretty old too, the man himself is prob’ly pushin, fifty. I tell you this, forty-eight or forty-five anyhow. Campbell got canned.”

Wot’choo Doin’ In That Welfare Line, Sonny?


“I may be sayin’ some things maybe you don’t wanna hear, but, uh, I forget what year it was, ‘62 or ‘63, I, uh, hurt my back, an’ I was off work two months. An’ it was covered by industrial, you know, an’ two months went by an’ I didn’ get my (insurance) check from the state, an’, uh, I went to the welfare, an’ I told ‘em that, you know, I needed help — electric bill due, an’ car payment, house payment, stuff like that. An’, well, ‘they’d have to have a meeting on it’ an’ all this stuff, you know, an’ ‘they’d let me know.’

“An’ I says ‘well, I need it now.’ She says ‘doncha have anything in the cupboard’ an’ I says ‘very little.’ ‘Well what do you have?’ you know, an’ then I had to rack my brain, you know, an’ tell her what we had…and, uh, well, ‘they’d let me know in a few days or a week’ an’ I says ‘I’m not leavin’ here without a grocery order.’ I named three families that had been on welfare for years. All’s they have is kids, not jobs. An’, uh, in fact, one of ‘em took a three-week vacation to California, bought a bran’ new Chevy Malibu, an’ two hours after they come back, they’s in the grocery store with a grocery order. Well, ‘we never heard of ‘em’ an’ stuff, you know.

“I threatened t’throw a chair through a winda. There’s a big plate glass winda down there. We got thirty-five dollars for two weeks, an’ then I had ‘em pay up my Blue Cross. An’ they paid that for me. What makes me mad is when somebody needs it that will work, they give ‘em a big runaround, An’ I don’t go for that.”

“I heard a man talkin’ in a doctor’s office one time. He was injured and he didn’t have any money, he didn’t have any coal — evidently he had a coal furnace — and he went to this welfare office to get money and food stamps and they give him a hassle and he said, ‘I’m agonna git what I want if I have to go to, uh, a weapon t’git it.’ He says, ‘I’m not gonna starve t’death in this country, I’m not gonna stand by an’ starve t’death.’ You know, it’s funny, this shouldn’t be the kind of country that you should have to use force…to get that.”

Memo To Management


“What factories I’ve been around, what it boils down to is just that there’s too many wheels and not enough spokes.”

“One of our chiefs down there to the shop said, he said, ‘There’s too many chiefs and not enough Indians.’ I mean they’re just all standin’ around you and you got one man in the middle doin’ all the work and you got all these guys standin’ around you tellin’ you what to do. This is ridiculous. It really is. You don’t know which way to go. “

“Well, I think the only way they’re gonna improve things in a factory is quit givin’ this man up here at the top $75,000 a year. There for awhile we had just about as many white-collared personnel down there as we did blue-collared personnel. We got some of ‘em just run around hidin’ — I don’t know what their job is an’ no one else does, I don’t believe. But they’ve got to make money to pay for these white-collared guys…. Now I don’t — the white-collared personnel’s gotta have a job too — but I can’t see steppin’ on a poor man to get his money.”

THERE’S A NEW YOU COMIN’. “Welllll, just treat you like a person, that’s all. I mean the impression that they give you down there is that you’re just another machine to them. The more they can load on you the better they like it, the more money they make. I mean, you know, you’re human…and you like to be treated that way,”

“There’s this new group comin’ in is about the only change. if management keeps pushin’ an’ pushin; like they are doin’, they won’t like it an’ they will run. Because they feel this way — if you hafta slave like that you might as well, you know, do nothin’. An’ they’re makin’ this welfare an’ stuff so easy t’get at. Really young people down there don’t want to work like they used to work, and you can’t blame ‘em. The company makes their money an’ pays fewer people. That’s why they’re so great on machines.

“I’d say just take the pressure off everybody…in the plants. It’s a strain knowin’ that you have to do every day the same amount, It’s a strain. You take these assembly lines — there’s too much pressure on the man, speedwise, incentive. Not the hours so much as it is just the way they’ve got it set up that you’ve got to do something right now, right then. You have to be right there…and every day you have to be like another machine. You have to be like a machine in other words. Even in a small plant down here, that’s what it is — pressure. And then there’s no two people alike.”

Ups and Downs


A man works down on the floor, goes up to the office, goes down to work, lives up here. The devil made me say that.

Foolish Capitalists


A man works 24 years, listens to push, push, push, push, for on or about two-fifty an hour and raises four sons, he doesn’t recommend factory work to them.


Received in New York on November 6, 1972

©1972 David Hamilton

David Hamilton is an Alicia Patterson Foundation award winner on leave from Newsday. This article may be published with credit to Mr. Hamilton, Newsday, and The Alicia Patterson Foundation.