My Job at a Apple Plant

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In the course of working my way through school, I have taken many jobs I would rather forget. I have spent nine hours a day lifting heavy automobile and truck batteries off the end of an assembly belt. I have risked the loss of eyes and fingers working a punch press in a textile factory. I have served as a ward aide in a mental hospital, helping care for brain damaged men who would break into violent fits at unexpected moments. But none of these jobs was as dreadful as my job in an apple plant. the work was physically hard; the pay was poor; and, most of all, the working conditions were dismal. First, the job made enormous demands on my strength and energy. For ten hours a night, I took cartons that rolled down a metal track and stacked them onto wooden skids in a tractor trailer. Each carton contained twelve heavy bottles of apple juice. A carton shot down the track about every fifteen seconds. O once figured out that I was lifting an average of twelve tons of apple juice evry night. When a truck was almost filled, I or my partner had to drag fourteen bulky wooden skids into the empty trailer nearby and then set up added sections of the heavy metal track so that we could start routing cartons back to the empty van. While one of us did that, the other performed the stacking work of two men. I would not have minded the difficulty of the work so much if the pay had not been so poor. I was paid the minimum wage at that time, $5.25 an hour, plus just a quarter extra for working the night shift. Because of the low salary, I felt compelled to get as much overtime pay as possible. Everything over eight hours a night was time-and-a-half, so I typically worked twelve hours a night. On Friday I would sometimes work straight through until Saturday at noon-eighteen hours. I averaged over sixty hours a week but did not take home much more. But even more than the low pay, what upset me about my apple plant job was the working conditions. Our humorless...
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