Ford Long Beach Assembly Plant Labor Conclusions
Long Beach Ford could not be charged with exploiting its labor, as far as we can tell. Company losses forced them to close during the depression years. There was no child labor, and women were not complaining. They were still "up on the pedestal," serving as typists and secretaries with little question as to their role. Henry Ford set the pace for decent labor practices in his early years. Aside from the era when he made his gangster-like bodyguard his informal labor relations man, he provided as well as or better for his work force as any other leader in the auto industry. If the pre-unionization violence reached Long Beach it never made the local newspapers as these have been carefully searched.
This local plant did a commendable job in bringing its employees together outside of the factory for recreational and for family social events. The employee cafeteria at a corner of the assembly building was light and heated, and some of the nicest scenes at the plant were taken of workers enjoying their lunch out on the sunny dock. Bringing home decent salaries, many of these workers had their own homes and cars, dressed their children well, and took annual vacations. All of these were documented in the company newspaper in one way or another. One Henry Blunden, Maintenance Department, supported four children and sent them to the University of California, Los Angeles, riding out the Depression which was the major hardship of his working career. During layoffs men spent their time on home improvement. Pictures of family day displayed happy, prosperous people. Working at Long Beach was a good solution to making a living.