Halpern, Carl (interviewee)
In this oral history interview conducted by son Joel Halpern, Carl Halpern begins by describing some photographs from the 1920s during his employment at the Electro Chemical Plant in New York where he worked from 1917 until his retirement in 1965. He names the locations and occasions of the photos, the people in the photos, their occupations at the plant or their relation to the company and in some cases he is able to tell their nationalities and the approximate year of death. He names the different departments in the factory, the job titles and tasks and the names of some of the people. Carl talks about the order of operations for preparing and making the plates at Electro Chemical. He describes his experience as a Jew and the subtle antisemitism that he felt. He speaks of the way the company treated their employees, and the actions of the employees which at times included embezzlement and paying off suppliers. Carl describes the worker strikes and the changes that occur when they became part of the District 65 United Mine Workers Union. He talks about the lack of formal pensions and how the company informally helped worker's families, how retired people survived in this time before social security and his own experience taking care of his aging parents. Carl discusses the nationalities of workers in different departments, what kinds of jobs they held, what degree of skill they had, where they lived and how they got to work. He describes the hiring practices of the company and the sense of loyalty even before the union. Finally he talks about the paper lithography company which occupied the building before Electro Chemical, the gap in raises or informal bonuses, the salaries of the highest paid officers in the company and the foremen, the number of employees, the gross income per year and the industries that they relied on for business.