The Girls in the Packing Department

M. Laetitia Cairoli

in Girls of the Factory

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780813035611
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039206 | DOI:
The Girls in the Packing Department

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This chapter illustrates the lives and routine of the factory girls in the packing department. The girls in the packing area are among the least educated in the factory. On average, workers in this area had completed no more than the up to fifth grade in their schooling and they are mostly teenagers. Sickness is a severe liability in the factory. It causes absence and loss of pay because there is no sick leave. The author had the feeling that many of the workers were simply paid an arbitrary amount, based more on the owner's whim or maybe his profits than on any calculation of time spent by the worker in any given month. She realized that the workers' attitudes toward pay reflected the fact that they were new to wage labor—as individuals, as a gender, and as a generation. The author reveals that throughout her time in the factory she struggled with the question of whether the factory work is changing the girl workers, whether the factory routines are shifting the way these girls operate in the world.

Keywords: factory girls; packing department; packing workers; strike; routine; lives; sickness; wages

Chapter.  26515 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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