Before, before the union was organized we had a contract. Many of the operations in the plants were piece, were rated. That is you got so much for putting out so many pieces of material whatever it may be. And then if a man began to make too much money according to the company's viewpoint, they would just cut the uh... piece-work rates on that particular operation.

So you'd have to work that much harder to make the same amount of money. It was so easy for the company, you see, to do this that it became a sort of a ratrace amongst the men to try to work harder in order to uh, to make a larger amount of money per day, or per week.

Uh... they had the piece-work system worked out and um, and what they call group piece-work system on the assembly line for given group in they had... if they produced so much per day they would get the certain amount of money for that amount of jobs that they produced.

But under that system no one really knew whether their figures were ever right on it or if they were cheating on the wages that we was supposed to get.

Show Transcript Speaker: Joe Devitt. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Date of interview: 7-5-1978. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.