Elinor Otto, One of the Last Working Rosie the Riveters, Named 70th Assembly District Woman of the Year
2014-03-12 · By Editor
As part of the California State Assembly’s celebration of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, is honoring Elinor Otto as the 70th Assembly District Woman of the Year.
Elinor Otto started working at aircraft assembly plants in 1942 for 65 cents an hour. One of the original Rosie the Riveters, Otto has been installing rivets on cargo plans for 70 years. Today, at 94, she’s earning close to $40 an hour, still wielding a rivet gun as a full time employee at Boeing’s Long Beach plant.
“Elinor Otto was a trailblazer during World War II and she hasn’t stopped since,” said Lowenthal, Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “She’s still a force to be reckoned with at the age of 94, and a role model for all of us.”
Otto was newly single with a young son to support when the Rosie the Riveter movement began during World War II. Like her colleagues, she was very proud of her work, but days after the war ended, all the women at her plant and others around the country, were let go. With a family to take care of, she tried working in offices but hated being still for too long. She even worked as a carhop before the roller skates were added to the uniform – anything to make ends meet and support her family.
Otto soon returned to the aircraft assembly line, first in San Diego, and then Long Beach where she’s worked at the same C-17 plant for 48 years.
Assemblymember Lowenthal is the Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, the Legislative Women’s Caucus, and the Select Committee on Ports. Ms. Lowenthal represents the 70th Assembly District, including Catalina Island, Long Beach, San Pedro, and Signal Hill.