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Working Man of the Century Retires


Arthur Winston is retiring after working at the same job for more than seven decades. Named "Working Man of the Century" by former President Bill Clinton, Winston decided to call it quits on his 100th birthday. VOA's Jim Bertel reports on this dedicated employee.

Public transit employee Arthur Winston has been cleaning buses in Los Angeles for decades. Before that he cleaned trolleys. During his three-quarters of a century on the job he never called in sick, never was late, never left early. In all those years he has only missed work once, the day his wife died.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, Winston compiled the best work record in U.S. history.

Arthur Winston was born in Oklahoma and picked cotton as a child. At the age of 17 he moved to Los Angeles and went to work for the Pacific Railroad Company.

"I started doing janitorial work. 41 cents an hour," he recalls.

He dreamed of being a driver or a mechanic. But, while the city was tied together by trolleys, it was divided by race. "1938, '40, all through that I put in for mechanical work," he says. " But in their old contract that this company had then, it says mechanic was only lily white and sober."

So he cleaned, eventually becoming a supervisor. Congress named him Employee of the Century and the city of Los Angeles named a bus yard after him. After all these years and accolades, what will he miss most?

"I' am going to feel kind of lonesome from missing the people. This has been home away from home" Winston says.

But the 100-year-old retiree does not plan to slow down. He wants to keep busy in his retirement by doing charity work and taking advantage of his free bus pass to explore Los Angeles.