At a company started in 1932, almost half the workers were born before its creation! And these gray-haired workers are keeping the company in the black.
NPR’s Morning Edition recently had a feature on the Vita Needle Company, a family-run in Needham, Massachusetts, where age or work speed is never a problem. The company employees workers as old as their late 90s—on the production floor!
These older part-time workers love to have a place to go and a purpose to their lives. They don’t mind the intricate and repetitive nature of their jobs, and their pride in their work has kept the firm competitive in its market.
The production procedures of stamping and grinding at this manufacturer of needles, syringes, and wires hasn’t changed much over the years, and the rapid pace of the new century has not altered the company culture. “I can go as fast or as slow as I want. No one pushes me,” says 98-year old Rosa Finnegan, who says the job keeps her arthritic fingers nimble.
Frederick Hartman, the 27-year-old director of marketing and engineering at his family’s company, says about these elderly employees, “Some may not work at a faster pace, but they will produce a quality product” that has helped the company maintain its market share against companies with much younger workers.
Plus, Caitrin Lynch, an associate professor of anthropology at Olin College in Needham, told NPR “hiring seniors makes economic sense.” They appreciate flexible, part-time hours, the money helps them pay their bills, … “and companies do not have to provide benefits because Medicare tends to cover the seniors' medical needs.” Lynch explains.