Otto Aves discusses his career at REO Motor Car Company and Diamond REO Trucks, Inc.
Otto Aves talks about his career at REO Motor Car Company/Diamond-Reo Trucks, Inc., in Lansing, MI, from 1944 to 1972. Aves describes growing up on a Delta Township farm and following both of his parents into the plant. He also talks about building military vehicles without heaters and defrosters, trying to run the family farm while working double shifts, a wildcat strike over piece rate pay, conditions on the shop floor, building custom trucks for celebrities, and the tremendous influence of the UAW. He says that REO was much like a family and reminisces about REO picnics, outings at Lake Lansing, the REO Clubhouse, movies, bowling, and the ball teams. As in any family, he says, there were problems and he describes filing a shop grievance against his real-life father-in-law who also worked at REO. The interviewers are Shirley Bradley and Lisa Fine. Recorded as part of the "REO Memories" oral history project.