California State University, Long Beach
 

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dc.contributor.author Campbell, Freda (b. 2/13/1912 - d. 9/27/2003 )
dc.contributor.author Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer
dc.date.accessioned 2021-05-01T06:57:04Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-01T06:57:04Z
dc.date.issued 2021-04-30
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/218960
dc.description SUBJECT BIO - Freda Campbell went to work at Lockheed in 1942 and remained there for the next thirty-five years, until her retirement. The fifth of eight children born on a farm in VanWert, Iowa, Campbell aspired to be a school teacher. After graduating from high school, she began teaching in a country school, and subsequently attended Iowa State University for one summer session. Bumped from the first job by a superintendent who hired a member of his own family, Campbell went to Des Moines after an unhappy experience in another school. There, she began working as a domestic. She moved to California in 1934 and worked in various domestic and waitressing jobs until she went to work at Lockheed in 1942. She abandoned her aspirations to teach, although she did return to college, earning a BA in the 1950s. Instead she worked her way up from electrical bench assembly work to a salary position in the 1950s. Campbell was quite occupied with a variety of volunteer activities, including the presidency of the local Audubon Society, but was always accommodating and generous with her time. Her home, nestled in the foothills of Glendale, overlooked a large, lovely yard and reflected her interest in nature and environmental issues. TOPICS - defense work recruitment; hiring process, Lockheed; patriotism; job expectations; orientation program; security issues; transportation; work attire; tools; company services; impression of plant; first day on the jophysical setting of Department 5; work attire; plant security; work force demographics; physical setting of tubing section; job responsibilities; working conditions; relationship with co-workers; demographics of wotimekeeping procedures; wages; hours; demographics of work crew; migrant workers and minorities; quitting and re-hiring in 1942; job responsibilities in Department 24; sheet metal skills; spot welding skills; workcompany-sponsored activities; social life and activities; clerical courses at Pasadena City College; plant security; daily routine; rationing; living arrangements; job responsibilities in spot welding section of De en_US
dc.description.abstract INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This is the second of five lengthy interviews conducted with Freda Campbell in the living room of her modest home in the foothills of Glendale. Short and trim looking, Campbell was always warm and friendly, though had a business-like air about her. A history buff, Campbell was quite conscious of the problem of historical accuracy and understood why apparent trivia and details were important. After the previous interview, she searched through her closets to produce documents that she had saved and which, she believed, would add to the accuracy of her recollections. 9/29/1980 en_US
dc.description.tableofcontents *** File: rrrfcampbell7.mp3 Audio Segments and Topics: (0:00-2:42)... A few of Campbell's friends worked at Lockheed before the war started and they encouraged her to apply for a job after the war started. Although she knew about other defense companies, she felt that Lockheed was a perfect fit because it was nearby and her friends worked there. Although she was at least party motivated by patriotism, she saw this as an opportunity to get into something besides domestic service. She was surprised that others in the plans planned on only working there for the duration of the war. (2:42-6:33)... Jobs at Lockheed were advertised in the newspapers and on the radio. Campbell describes the application process at the Los Angeles office where she applied for a job. It was crowded with applicants and people moved from one line to another to complete the hiring process. After she filled out an application, she was interviewed and took an aptitude test. Even though she was making good money in domestic service, she did not want to work in that field for the rest of her life. She talks about the role patriotism played in women's decision to go into defense work. Men, however, went to work at Lockheed because the work was steady compared to the job market of the Depression. She had no idea what her job responsibilities would be before she applied for a job at Lockheed. Her friends told her about the wages and the potential for overtime and raises. (6:33-8:31)... Campbell had no idea what type of work she would be hired to do at Lockheed. The man who interviewed her felt that she was well suited for clerical work because of her teaching background. She didn't think that she was qualified to work in the office because she did not have any typing or shorthand skills. She later found out that these skills were not necessary to work in the office. Although she would have preferred to work in an office environment, she thought that "working in the shop would be a very patriotic thing to do." (8:31-13:28)... Campbell applied for a job at an employment office that screened people for all of the aircraft companies. The next day, she was sent to Lockheed to complete the hiring process, which took two days and included more tests and a physical examination. She also sat through an orientation meeting that covered company policies and security issues. She was assigned to a department and told that she would be working as a detailed tube assembler. Someone informed her that her job took place in the plumbing section and was "dirty work." She thought she would be cleaning out toilets and was not looking forward to it. (13:28-19:16)... After Campbell gave her employer in San Marino notice, she moved out and rented an apartment in Pasadena. She prepared for her job at Lockheed by purchasing a pair of blue jeans, but after noticing the fancy slacks the other women wore, she had some made since it was difficult to find pants that fit her properly. She wore a cotton blouse and close-toed shoes to work. Women who worked with or near machinery were required to wear a hair net; however, most women wore a snood. Soon after she started at Lockheed, she was fitted for safety glasses. She also was told that she would need to purchase a toolbox and some tools. Although she purchased the toolbox from a store, she bought most of her tools from Lockheed. (19:16-21:58)... During orientation, Campbell was informed about the company services, including the eating establishments where they could purchase meals on their lunch break. Because she wanted her meals to be nutritious, Campbell always brought her lunch. She recalls that when Lockheed finally opened up a cafeteria at the plant, many people got sick from eating the food. (21:58-23:22)... Campbell began working at Lockheed in June 1942. Although there were already a lot of women in the plant, the company began hiring women in mass after she started. She did not find out about the Women's Counselors until six months after she was hired. (23:22-28:19)... Campbell describes her first day in the plant. She was taken from one area to the next and introduced to the supervisors in her department. Once she got to her section, the leadman illustrated what her responsibilities were and advised another woman to help Campbell learn the basics. She was relieved to see that she would not be cleaning toilets. She describes her work environment, indicating that she was extremely afraid to work near a large degreasing tank located in her department. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell8.mp3 (0:00-1:30)... Campbell was assigned to Department 5, though she doesn't recall in which building, except that is was near a gate. She wore her identification badge on her blouse most of the time so that the guards could see it easily. A lot of the women did not wear their badges because it tore their blouses. Campbell wore cotton shirts to work most of the time because she thought it was silly to wear a nice blouse when the working conditions were so dirty. She also purchased a shop coat to protect her clothing on the days she wore nice blouses and slacks. She only dressed nicely if she and her co-workers planned to go out after work. (1:30-2:49)... Department 5 was comprised of three floors: the top floor was occupied by precision assembly, the balcony by electrical assembly, and the bottom floor was dedicated to tubing. There were large tube-bending machines in her department that were originally operated by men. During the war, women moved into this operation and were paid more money than the other women in the tubing section. Campbell wanted to do this type of work but she was told that she was too small. (2:49-4:24)... There were approximately twenty people in the tube-bending section, some of whom worked in bench assembly. The section was predominantly staffed with women. The men in the section were older. Her crew was supervised by more than one leadman. (4:24-8:51)... Campbell worked in the "tubing detailed assembly" section. After the tubes were coded with colored tape, they were sent to another section to be lacquered. She did not like to be in or near this section because the ventilation was bad and the tubing was occasionally coded with paint instead of tape. When she came into work each day, she picked up tubes from a large metal container. The tubing section handled hydraulic tubes, fuel tubes, and engine oil tubes, all of which required different color codes. She had to stand part of the time while she worked because there were not enough stools for everyone in the section. However, the girls took turns using the stools throughout their shift. (8:51-17:10)... Campbell was overwhelmed when she started working in the plant because of the number of people she came in contact with on a daily basis. Most of the women she worked with were friendly and one, in particular, took Campbell under her wing. She showed her around the department and gave her some job training. The girls in her crew resented one woman in their section who overdressed for work and was a little bossy because she was having an affair with the leadman. The women in her department ranged in age from eighteen to forty. She describes the restroom facilities in the plant and talks about the day she met a woman from electrical assembly. Campbell maintained contact with a few of her co-workers after she left the plant through the Lockheed Friendship Club. (17:10-21:57)... Most of the women in Campbell's crew were single mothers or housewives who either needed the money to support their families or simply welcomed the opportunity to work. Some women worked prior to getting married. A few were teachers who quit their jobs for defense work, motivated by patriotism and the good money. She was bothered a great deal when she learned that some mothers were leaving their children at home alone when they went to work. She never knew there were so many single mothers and divorcees until she started working at Lockheed. She watched many marriages crumble because couples worked opposing shifts. There is a brief aside in this segment about her carpooling arrangements. (21:57-24:24)... Note: there is an interruption in this segment when Campbell answers the telephone. She was able to carry on conversations with her co-workers while she worked. Her work did not require a lot of concentration like some positions in the plant and there was not a lot of noise in her section. She digresses regarding how tubing assignments were recorded on a work order and distributed in the department. During production lulls, work orders were divided up so that everyone had something to do. Each employee normally worked on a work order by themselves. (24:24-27:58)... Campbell discusses the pace of production in tubing, indicating that certain tubes took longer to color code than others. She completed two tubes per minute if she was not interrupted in the process. The area in which she worked was not the most organized in the plant and the assembly line was often held up when the bench got too crowded with tubes. In general, she was not pressured to work at a certain speed unless a dispatcher needed a tube right away in order to get a plane off the production floor. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell9.mp3 (0:00-2:07)... On her first day of work, she was ready to take a break at the scheduled times and was looking forward to going home at the end of her shift. She describes the timekeeping process in the plant. She eventually learned that in order to avoid the crowds at the time clock, she would have to get a head start cleaning her work station so that she was ready to go when the whistle blew. (2:07-3:55)... Campbell's starting wage was .66 cents/hour, which included a .06 cent bonus for working the swing shift. She was paid time and a half on Saturdays. Although overtime was offered to employees who wanted to work on Sundays, she very rarely took advantage of this overtime. During the war, she worked eight hours a day, forty-eight hours a week. (3:55-9:25)... Campbell liked her leadman, but noticed that he spoke poor English. She comments on the grammar and language skills of her co-workers, most of whom did not bother to say "please" and "thank you." Because of how she spoke, at least one co-worker to ask if she was a college graduate. Initially, she was shocked by the language that her co-workers used. (9:25-10:44)... Although there were no "Okies" on her crew, there were some in her department. When she began working in the plant, there were no minorities in the department. She believes the company began hiring minorities approximately six months after she started. (10:44-19:44)... In November 1942, she asked for a leave of absence so that she could go back home and say good-bye to her brothers before they were drafted. The company would not grant her time off, so she quit. When she returned to California in December, she was re-hired at the plant and assigned to experimental production in Department 24. Her supervisor tested her aptitude on various sheet metal skills in order to find an appropriate assignment. She was transferred to spot welding three months later, and when she began having back problems, she was transferred to electrical bench assembly. She received medical treatment in the plant, after which she was given a special badge which demarcated that she was not permitted to do any excessive standing or lifting. (19:44-24:06)... Campbell was re-hired at her pay rate after the one month hiatus during which she returned to Iowa. Although she was not a member of the union at that time, all workers were covered under a union contract that established wage rates. Her attitudes about the union were influenced by her family's experiences during a coal miner's strike. However, she joined the union approximately two years after she started because she realized that a union was necessary in a big factor, though she thought that sometimes "their demands are unreasonable." She ultimately decided to join the union because all of people on her crew were members of the union. (24:06-29:32)... Although Campbell occasionally went out with women in tube assembly, she mainly socialized with people in her carpool. After she transferred into the experimental department, she made more friends and socialized with them outside work. Many of these friends were better educated than the women she met in tube assembly. In addition to bowling and movies, she was a member of Lockheed's Penguin Club. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell10.mp3 (0:06-1:24)... Lockheed organized entertainment for employees during their lunch break. The company also sponsored several clubs and activities, including a chorus group. When the company recreational group was formed, Campbell did not participate because she was busy with her own social life outside of work. (1:24-2:47)... Campbell lost a lot of friends when she began working the swing shift at Lockheed. She continued to go to her Fellowship group until it was disbanded after many of the people married and went their own ways and several men in the group were drafted. At that time, her social network began to revolve around her friends at work. She also started going to a church in Monrovia where she made new friends. (2:47-3:27)... Approximately a year after she started at Lockheed, Campbell began taking courses at Pasadena City College in anticipation of moving into a clerical position at the plant. She wanted to get out of production, commenting: she did not want to get out of production, she states, "I did not want to wear slacks and carry a lunch pail for the rest of my life." (3:27-5:18)... Campbell purchased a toolbox and a few tools when she began working in tube assembly. Once she moved into the experimental department, she was required to purchase several more tools. She left her toolbox at her work station after her shift ended, explaining that a special permit from the department office was needed if people wanted to take their toolbox home. They also had to have their toolbox inspected and sealed before they could take it out of the plant. (5:18-6:19)... Workers were told not to talk about their jobs. She recalls that she had to provide personal references and information about her previous work experience during the hiring process. (6:19-9:03)... Campbell discusses how she managed her household and shopping responsibilities during the war period. It was not that difficult for her to acquire food with rationing coupons because she was only shopping for herself. She briefly rented an apartment with a girlfriend, but moved out when she found out this woman's boyfriend was coming over every night. At that time, she rented an apartment on her own. (9:03-12:19)... The work in the experimental department was physically demanding and Campbell had to stand on her feet all day. But she was young and energetic and does not recall feeling overly fatigued after work. Describing the experimental department, Campbell notes that the workers had to have a certain level of mathematical skills. The experimental department was guarded by a security officer who had a list of the names of people who were allowed to be in the department. (12:19-14:29)... When Campbell injured her back at work, she received medical treatment at the plant dispensary. She never went to a Women's Counselor because she saw their role as helping people who had personal problems. She preferred to solve her problems on her own. Counseling and clerical positions appealed to her because the women in those jobs were able to wear dresses to work and did not have to wear a snood. After the war, however, the Women's Counselors would have been happy to take a job in production. (14:29-15:23)... Campbell dated a few men at work, but there were not very many single men at the plant. She frequently heard about workplace romances and infidelity was a popular topic of gossip in the plant. (15:23-21:25)... In the early days of the war, Campbell and her girlfriends in the Fellowship group went to USO events in Pasadena. She was never much of a dancer and went there mainly to invite servicemen to Fellowship meetings or social events in their homes. Campbell dated very few servicemen during the war, but recalls going to Indio once with her girlfriends to see some servicemen. (21:25-24:45)... After Campbell injured her back, her leadman decided that she was too small and fragile to work in his department and transferred her to electrical assembly. The experimental tubing section was nearby and she recalls one occasion when her unit was asked to color code tubes when the tubing section got overloaded with work. As she progressed from one position to another, her job classification changed although she did not receive a pay increase with each transfer. Her wage increases occurred at regular, three-month intervals. (24:45-28:13)... By the time she was transferred to electrical assembly, Campbell was making .75/hour, netting approximately $35/week, which included time and a half for Saturdays. She believes that social security and unemployment payments were deducted from her paycheck, as well as .25 cents for the "buck-of-the-month club" and $3.75 for war bonds. At some point, she began contributing funds to the company credit union. End of tape. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights This repository item may be used for classroom presentations, unpublished papers, and other educational, research, or scholarly use. Other uses, especially publication in any form, such as in dissertations, theses, articles, or web pages are not permitted without the express written permission of the individual collection's copyright holder(s). Please contact the CSULB Library Administration should you require permission to publish or distribute any content from this collection or if you need additional information or assistance in using these materials: https://www.csulb.edu/university-library/form/questionssuggestions-the-digital-repository-group en_US
dc.subject Rosie the Riveter Revisited en_US
dc.subject Women's History en_US
dc.title Campbell, Freda (audio interview #2 of 5) en_US
dc.type Recording, oral en_US


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