Life Insights from a 100-Year-Old Manufacturing Worker

BY Paul Solman  January 2, 2013 at 4:17 PM EST


While reporting on needle and tubing manufacturing firm Vita Needle in Needham, Mass., recently, the NewsHour team met Rosa Finnegan. The company is known for its elderly workforce with its average worker 74 years old.

Making SenseBut at 100, Finnegan is the oldest. She has been working since she was a teenager and has worked at Vita Needle for 16 years. And she still punches in five days a week and has no plans to retire. Watch this web extra above, in which Finnegan, who turns 101 in February, explains why she continues to work decades after reaching the retirement age.

Rosa Finnegan was such a treat to meet. Here is another outtake in which she discusses her days waiting tables at a Howard Johnson.


Finnegan then described what it is like to get to work when you are, as she puts it, too old to drive. Even though she knows it’s better that she is not on the road, she thinks it was the “worst thing in the world” to hand in her driver’s license.


Watch PBS NewsHour Wednesday evening’s segment online for an inside look at Vita Needle and their unique approach to turn a profit by employing an unusual workforce. You can tune in via live stream at 6 p.m. ET or on your local PBS station.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions