Sunday, March 9, 2008

Buick WWII First Metal July 17,1942

Ground was broken for the new aluminum foundry at Buick on February 17, 1942. The first production part built in the new factory was on July 17, 1942. Due to the urgency of the war a temporary production line was set up in the then vacant grey iron foundry #70. This temporary setup was for training purposes of both supervisors and the workers. As a matter of fact the parts were so urgently needed that even these test pieces were quickly taken to the assembly plant in Melrose, Illinois. Each engine required 14 cylinder heads set in two rows with a final monthly production of 125,000 units. And this was specified by general manager Harlow Curtice as "GOOD" parts. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 Buick in Flint had 16,000 workers on the payroll. Due to the layoff of non essential workers during the changeover from automobile production to war production, the number of active employees would temporarily drop to 14,000. By 1943 the Buick site in Flint had a total of 40,000 workers, of these 12,000 were woman. Buick's service flag, which showed how many people in your family were serving in the armed forces, showed over 7,000. These figures are from a book called "The City Of Flint Grows Up" by Carl Crow written at that time, so I tend to believe these figures. Everyone that has been quoted in numerous publications has a different figure but I lean towards these being correct.  Link for wildcat strike.

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