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 2021-05-04T01:43:48Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-04T01:43:48Z
dc.date.issued 2021-05-03
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/218962
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 - wages and raises; rationing; transportation; wartime savings; war bonds; workplace romances; lesbianism; men's attitude towards women in production; social life and activities; boosting worker ; and work attire;job responsibilities in electrical assembly; demographics of department workers; impression of leadmen and supervisors; reassignment to leading edge; job responsibilities and electrical check out; and attitudes abelectrical check out responsibilities; job classifications; reassignment to electrical assembly; back injury; reclassification to department clerk in tool planning; job training; physical description of tool plannimotivations for going into clerical work; attitude towards future in production work; relationship with co-workers in Model 89 planning; postwar layoffs; transfer to Constellation planning; clerical re-classificati en_US
dc.description.abstract INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This is the third 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. As in the previous interview, she often checked the accuracy of her memory by consulting various documents that she had saved and recovered from her closets. 10/6/1980 en_US
dc.description.tableofcontents *** File: rrrfcampbell11.mp3 Audio Segments and Topics: (0:00-2:14)... Campbell's starting wage was .66 cents/hour, which included a .06 cent bonus for working the swing shift. She received a monthly raise of .05 cents until her wages reached .81 cents/hour, after which she received a raise every three months. She felt that she was making good money at the time. She paid $25 a month in rent and used the remainder of her paycheck to purchase clothes. (2:14-6:16)... Campbell took the bus to work before she began riding in a carpool. She saved her gas coupons so that she could drive out to see her sister. She obtained her ration books from a location in Pasadena, not at the plant. Employees were eligible for extra gas coupons only if they were hauling passengers to work. She believes that the supervisory and management staff at the plant also received extra coupons because they frequently worked longer hours in the plant. She received a special pass to ride the bus, which transported workers to various defense plants in the area. (6:16-12:47)... Campbell managed to save money during the war period in addition to purchasing war bonds every five weeks. In 1956, she cashed in her bonds in order to make a down payment on a house. The plant frequently sponsored bond drives, and although they were not required to purchase bonds, there was a substantial amount of internal pressure. Supervisors and department managers were notified about employees who did not buy bonds and they then had a conversation with them. She believes that the refusal to purchase bonds impeded a worker's progress in the plant. (12:47-17:37)... Campbell discusses workplace romances at Lockheed, noting that she dated one or two men at the plant during the war. There was talk in the plant about women who were promoted or received raises because of their relationship with a leadman or a supervisor. The women in her crew did not date the supervisors because most of those men were married. She also heard stories about married women getting involved in relationships with men in the plant while their husbands were stationed overseas. In general, people were critical of employees who committed adultery. (17:37-20:46)... Campbell did not notice any lesbian activity in the plant during the war period although there were suspicions about certain women who looked or dressed more masculine. After she left Lockheed, she learned that her suspicion about one woman was correct. She began to hear more reports of lesbian behavior in the plant after she went to work in the office in 1948. (20:46-21:37)... Generally, Campbell she thinks that men accepted women in the plant. Occasionally, they made negative remarks, but none were ever addressed towards her. She recalls when a co-worker told her about a man who implied that women would not be able to handle the work if all the men were drafted. (21:37-23:46)... Even though Campbell socialized with her co-workers outside of work, she also maintained contact with her other friends. Most Lockheed activities took place in Burbank and she lived in Pasadena. Besides, a lot of these were planned for day shift workers and took place while she was at work. She did not participate in any Lockheed activities except for bowling and participating in the Penguin Club. (23:46-28:18)... Campbell heard about fashion shows of work clothing in the plant, which were meant to encourage employees to do their shopping at the company store in an effort to reduce absenteeism. Swing shift workers did not have this problem because they shopped prior to their shift. Whenever a clerical worker walked through her department, the women thought she looked so glamorous and expressed envy of those who were able to wear a dress. She notes that the idea of wearing slacks was still new. Supervisors periodically inspected women's work attire to make sure it was up to company standards. If women did not dress appropriately, they were sent home. Campbell kept her more "glamorous" attire in the car if she had plans to go out after work. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell12.mp3 (0:00-4:31)... Note: there is an interruption in this segment when Campbell answers the telephone. Campbell describes her job in experimental electrical assembly, which included soldering. After she completed her work, a photograph was taken of the assembly for the engineering department. During production lulls in her section, work was brought in from different departments for her crew to complete. Her department was dedicated to experimental and prototype development; she recorded mock up specifications on electrical wire and plumbing cards. Experimental parts were transported to other buildings in the plant. (4:31-8:14)... During the experimental development of P-38s, engineering decided to increase the aircraft's range by placing fuel tanks in the leading edge of the wing section. Campbell was reassigned to this section some time in 1944 and initially was the only woman on the crew. When another woman was brought into the section, she and Campbell became fast friends and she moved into Campbell's apartment complex in Pasadena. (8:14-10:35)... Campbell describes the electrical assembly section in the experimental department, which was staffed mainly by women. One of the two men in the section was a 4F and the other was an older man. There were approximately ten to twelve employees under the supervision of one lead. (10:35-14:27)... Campbell talks about the backgrounds of her co-workers in electrical assembly. The turnover and rate of absenteeism was very low on her crew. Occasionally, she helped the experimental mechanics in the department figure out mathematical equations. She soon realized that high-school graduates in California were deficient in math skills compared to the skills she learned while attending school in Iowa. (14:27-20:44)... The women in Campbell's crew in electrical assembly ranged in age and only two of three were married. She found some of the younger women "a little frivolous," but got along well with all of her co-workers and found them to be very companionable. The younger women were single, unattached, and had little previous job experience prior. She comments that there were a couple of women from the Midwest who were not very "sophisticated." Working with a heterogeneous group of people taught Campbell to "accept people for what they were," noting that some of the less sophisticated people could be counted on the most. (20:44-22:14)... There were no minorities on Campbell's crew, but there was a Mexican inspector when she worked in soldering. When she asked him about his Spanish surname, he made it clear that he was Mexican not Spanish. To this day, Campbell uses "Mexicans," not Hispanic. (22:14-22:52)... Campbell rarely socialized with her co-workers in electrical assembly outside of work because most of them resided in the valley and she lived in Pasadena. However, they occasionally went bowling together. (22:52-23:47)... Campbell's leadman ultimately married a woman on her crew whose husband was overseas during the war. Most of the leadmen and supervisors she worked with at Lockheed were nice men. (23:47-28:00)... Campbell doesn't know why she was selected to do electrical work on the leading edge. She was the only woman on the crew until her friend Jeanette was assigned to the section. Campbell did not have any problems working in a male-dominated crew because she had grown up with men and was pleased to be in this section because she felt it would lead to a higher job classification. During breaks, she occasionally spent time with her co-workers in electrical assembly. Before Jeanette came into the leading edge section, Campbell took breaks alone because most of the men on her crew went outside to smoke. She typically ate lunch with the women in electrical assembly. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell13.mp3 (0:08-2:53)... Campbell talks about the work she did on the leading edge in the experimental department. She believes that her job classification was changed to electrical installer and she received a pay raise. Although she joined the union while working in this section, she did not approach the shop steward about applying for a reclassification. (2:53-4:42)... There were approximately six people working in electrical check out. One of the men was responsible for the plumbing work because it required more strength. Her crew was able to produce several leading edges a day. (4:42-7:36)... When the leading edge project ended, Campbell was sent back to electrical assembly. She worked on some sort of a jig during that required standing on the concrete all day. She complained to her supervisor when she started to have back pains, and he sent her to the personnel office to find a new assignment. They offered her an inspection position, but she told them that she wanted an office job because she did not want to be on her feet anymore. She thought that there were opportunities to go up the occupational ladder in the office. She was glad that she did not go into inspection because she would have been laid off at the end of the war. (7:36-10:22)... Campbell began working as a department clerk in the tool planning office during the period that the experimental department was producing Model 89, a two-decker airplane. She switched to the day shift for a two-week training period. When she began working in the tool planning office, she was the only woman in the office on the swing shift until Florence was brought in a few months later. Campbell liked working the swing shift because her job responsibilities varied. Florence did most of the typing work. Campbell did not have a good working relationship with Florence. (10:22-13:46)... The typing and filing staff in the tool planning department was supervised by a leadwoman who was an extra .06 cents. There were more women working in the planning office during the day shift than swing shift, which was created because the department was so busy. There was no graveyard shift available for department clerks. After the war, a separate hangar was constructed for tool planning and the staff transferred to that building. She describes the physical setting of the tool planning department in that hangar. (13:46-17:36)... During the war, the planning office was housed downstairs in the same building as the executive offices in an area known as "Old Mahogany Row." She recalls running into Robert Gross, the head of Lockheed, while clocking out one evening. The office was extremely crowded on the day shift with as many as fifty employees occupying the office at a time. (17:36-19:54)... On her first day of training as department clerk, Campbell was asked to file work order cards into a tall filing cabinet. She had to stand on her tip toes in order to reach the top drawer. When the department manager noticed the difficulty she was having, he suggested that she move the cards down one drawer. While filing work orders, she began to familiarize herself with the information on the cards. (19:54-23:38)... When Campbell began working in the planning office on the swing shift, there were only three or four men in the office, Their jobs often required them to spend time on the production floor, and she was frequently alone in the office until Florence began working there. Florence was not happy in the tool planning office, but Campbell did not commiserate with her when she complained about their working conditions. (23:38-25:23)... Once she started working in the tool planning office, Campbell began wearing dresses although she wore slacks to work when the weather was bad. She wore leg makeup to cover her legs instead of stockings because of wartime shortages. During the winter months, she wore nylons to work when she could find them. (25:23-26:44)... Even though back problems led to Campbell's transfer to clerical work, she also saw it as an opportunity for future job advancement. She figured that she had a better chance of keeping her job after the war and she did not want to "work out in the shop the rest of my life." End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell14.mp3 (0:06-2:41)... Campbell notes that in 1944 almost any woman would be glad to be transferred into office work even if it meant a reduction in pay. Women were not use to working in nontraditional jobs and Campbell things that there were few opportunities for professional or economic advancement in production. As the war began to wind down, everyone wondered if they would lose their jobs after the war. She planned on transferring to the day shift before the war ended because she felt her chances were better at keeping her job on that shift. (2:41-5:31)... When the tool planning department moved into a new building in 1945, Campbell became friendly with a woman who worked in parts listing and they began spending their lunch breaks together. The atmosphere in the new office was much more relaxed and she found the work interesting. (5:31-6:58)... Before Campbell was hired as a department clerk, she began taking typing and shorthand courses at Pasadena City College during the day. (6:58-8:36)... When the war ended, Campbell was vacationing in San Francisco. She recalls the celebrations that took place in the streets when VJ-Day was declared, stating, "that was the first time I was ever afraid." The sailors stationed in San Francisco were very rowdy and intoxicated and she thought it was dangerous to be in the streets. As an aside, she comments that she didn't get vacation until the union negotiated it in a new contract. (8:36-9:59)... Campbell began working the day shift around VE-Day. She was tired of working the swing shift. The company began laying off production workers first and "they were doing a lot of bumping." She had a lot of seniority in the plant and thought that she would stay at the plant and "stick it out." (9:59-14:29)... When the war ended, the contract to produce Model 89s was canceled and Campbell was transferred to a tool planning department assigned to the Constellation. She began working as a parts lister when she went on days. Her first assignment was typing parts lists for eight hours. She had a severe backache at the end of the day and when asked by her leadwoman how she felt about the job, Campbell told her that she did not care for it, but would do what was necessary. After this incident, she got the feeling that the leadwoman did not like her. (14:29-18:21)... Campbell talks about her concerns of being downgraded when she was transferred to another department while clerical positions were being reclassified in the plant. After she told the personnel manager about her previous assignment in Model 89 planning, he transferred her back to that office to fill in for a woman who was on leave. She was welcomed back with open arms by her former co-workers. (18:21-20:45)... Although Campbell lost her swing shift pay differential when she began to work days, she was not concerned. She thought that there was more opportunity for advancement on the day shift. When she was promoted to parts lister, her pay increased from $1.05 to $1.15/hour. She worked forty hours a week when she went into clerical work. She recalls that the postwar union contract stipulated that employees make the same amount of money for a forty hour week that they earned working forty-eight hours during the war. (20:45-23:16)... Campbell's social and dating activities increased a great deal after she switched to the day shift. She continued to take courses at Pasadena City College and graduated in 1948. She moved to Glendale after the war and became more active in church. She also enrolled in evening courses at Los Angeles City College and Los Angeles State College. She went to school three nights a week. (23:16-26:41)... Campbell was transferred from Model 89 planning into "spares" around 1947. Layoffs were still occurring on a regular basis in the plant and she actually bumped someone out of a position when she moved into spares. Parts listers were being interviewed when they went into new departments in order to weed out those who were fulfilling more of a clerical role instead of a technical role. When she went into spares, the department was working on technical manuals for the P2 prototype. Her responsibilities entailed listing the parts from the blueprint and drawing illustrations. Technical writers in the department were normally responsible for this task, but she was placed in this position without a job upgrade or pay increase. The interview ends just as she is discussing how she was recommended to spares by her leadwoman in Model 89 planning. 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 #3 of 5) en_US
dc.type Recording, oral en_US


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