I had a great conversation today with a gentleman who worked at the Rock Island plant for several summers when he was a college student in the early 60's. He worked 11 pm to 7 am in the foundry, mostly shoveling sand off the floor.
He said the plant was very safety conscious, and when there was an incident, everything shut down immediately until it was resolved. It sounds like the air was heavy with iron dust because he said his skin would be rust colored after a shift and it was uncomfortable. The plant handed out some special salve that was some sort of miracle cure. He said he still has a container of it. I believe it was called "hox salve" or something like that.
The best story was about a bar nearby that would cash paychecks on payday. There was 2 guys by the door with double barrel shotguns. You walked in by them, proceeded up the stairs and up there was a guy with a double barrel shotgun on his lap and he cashed out the checks, and often, most of the money never left the premises. The bar would only shut down from 5am to 6am for floor sweeping.
He said when the 806's first started rolling off the line there was a 60% scrapping rate.
Often the management would argue publicly and loudly on the floor between shifts over who would get what and when as far as supplies and components.
The Union protected fair amount of 'dead weight' who abused the system. 1 guy wandered around all day quoting Bible passages. 1 guy goofed off for 40 hours a week, but then worked well for overtime and piecework.