The Godfather

Anchor Salem (2)

When I was a human resources manager working in a factory in New Jersey we would always have an annual service award banquet for the employees. We were a union shop with four locals and four union presidents. These affairs, as I ran them, were kind of a big deal and the employees looked forward to them every year. We always had a live band and invited lots of guests. One year I thought I would invite the regional union rep for the International Union. His name was Frank, he was Italian, and he looked liked he walked right off the set of the Godfather. When I introduced Frank to speak, as he strode across the floor to take the podium, I glanced at the band leader and nodded my head. The strains from the Theme to the Godfather began to emanate from the bandstand, to uproarious laughter, and no one was laughing more that Frank. The employees loved it! It was a night to remember.


Anchor Salem (2)

I worked in the glass industry for 35 years. I was the Human Resoureces Manager for the above pictured factory in Salem, New Jersey for over 10 years. This factory is now closed. The workers have now retired or gone to other glass factories in the area or have gone on to other endeavors. When it was fully operational we had three glass melting furnaces, eight glass forming machines and employed 350 workers including 34 supervisors and managers. We operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week 360 days of the year. We made over two million bottles a day.


We were a union shop with two unions and four locals. Each local had a president. I am extremely proud of the men and women who worked at Anchor Salem and I am proud of my service there.

I would like to salute them on this labor day and remember them with this essay I wrote some time back regarding work:

There is nothing more disheartening that endless futile labor or doing something you absolutely loathe or have a fundamental problem with. As you might recall, Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of rolling a rock up a steep mountain incline only to have it roll back to the valley again once he got it to the top. On his way back down the mountain, he had to think about his existential position.

Looked at in another way, work is applied effort. It is what we put ourselves into…whatever we expend our energy on for the sake of accomplishing something. Work in this fundamental sense is not what we do for our living, but what we do with our living.

Happiness resides in activity, both physical and mental. It resides in doing things that one can take pride in doing well. Those who have missed the joy of work, of a job well done, have missed something very important.

All work can be done well or it can be done poorly. All work can be done cheerfully and with pride or grudgingly and with distaste. Whichever way we do it is really up to us. It is a matter of choice. There are no menial jobs. Only menial attitudes. In the theater we say there are no small parts, only small actors.  Our attitudes are up to us. A laborer is worthy of his hire.

As Sisyphus presses his face against the rock, each atom of the stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain itself forms a world. The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Believe me, there was no one who worked harder, or with greater joy than the employees at Anchor Glass Container, Salem, New Jersey.