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Audio Recording "It was up to me to make it or break it."

"It was up to me to make it or break it."

About this Item


  • "It was up to me to make it or break it."


  • Granata, Giovanni "John" (Narrator)
  • Carroll, Thomas D. (Interviewer)

Created / Published

  • 1994-08-05


  • -  Vocational education
  • -  Italian Americans
  • -  Labor Unions
  • -  Strikes
  • -  Oral history
  • -  Interviews
  • -  Sound recordings
  • -  Textile industry
  • -  Wages
  • -  Ethnicity and occupation
  • -  21st Avenue (Paterson, N. J.)
  • -  Granata Financial Service (Paterson, N.J.)
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  United States -- New Jersey -- Paterson


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Interview with John Granata, owner, Granata Financial Service.
  • -  Summary of audio segment: Worked in textiles for 5 years. Got married, and always liked sales. He and wife went to real estate school, got license (wife did too), and worked in real estate. But job was not secure. A mutual friend, whose husband worked for Prudential. When his company went on strike, JG was opposed to it, and he got an interview at Prudential. This was October 1986. Manager "fell in love" with JG, offered him a job. Guaranteed him a base salary. JG took the opportunity, and has been with them 8 years. Has been going up and up and up since then. Perennial Print, union shop. Local 1733. JG mentions strike in October 1993, when 400 people lost their jobs, some shops just closed down. They're blaming the union. Local 1733, printers and dyers. JG was looking out for his future, and the strike took place when he worked there. There was no pension plan, low pay, etc. Now only a very small pension for workers there. JG supported the workers in their fight for a pension plan, but not for a raise in pay. Now the workers there average $13-$14 an hour, but the pension plan is bad. Most of the workers don't speak English, and were more focused on the struggle for the raise in pay. JG is trying to explain to them that they have to develop their own retirement plans, put money away. This is one of the services he offers. He sells pension plans to them, through personal life insurance. It provides life insurance and investment benefit. JG says the workers thought their $25 a month dues went toward a pension plan, but actually that was a fee to maintain the union. The workers were mainly Italian speakers. Still a lot of Italians in the textile industry. JG says each factory had its own group. At Perennial Print, 95 percent of the workers were from Montescaglioso, that's how he got in. Merryjohn (sp?) employed Sicilians. TPD employed people from Benevento. People spoke for you and you got a job. JG is from Montescaglioso, so he went to work at Perennial.


  • Digital Audio Tape

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1995/028: WIP-TDC-A001

Source Collection

  • Working in Paterson Project Collection (AFC 1995/028)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

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Credit line

Working in Paterson Project collection, 1993-2002 (AFC 1995/028), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Granata, Giovanni "John", and Thomas D Carroll. "It was up to me to make it or break it.". -08-05, 1994. Audio.

APA citation style:

Granata, G. ". & Carroll, T. D. (1994) "It was up to me to make it or break it.". -08-05. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Granata, Giovanni "John", and Thomas D Carroll. "It was up to me to make it or break it.". -08-05, 1994. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.