Nightly News   |  September 26, 2013

‘Rosie the Riveter’ still working, seven decades later

Elinor Otto, 93, is doing the same work she did in 1942 as part of the famous “Rosie the Riveter” brigade during World War II. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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>>> finally tonight rosie the riveter is not done yet. this rosie's name is elinor otto of long beach, california. at 93 she's doing the same work she started doing in 1942 as part of the rosie the riveter brigade of world war ii . she is something of a local legend now. the last of her era still on the job. if you need inspiration, here it is the. nbc's mike taibbi has her story.

>> reporter: 5:00 in the morning, leaving for work. a short drive, a stop for coffee, a brief staff meeting.

>> all right, everybody. let's hit it.

>> reporter: and then elinor otto, 93, is at her position at the boeing plant, driving in more of the 3,000 rivets in a wing section for a c-17 cargo plane.

>> i'm a working person, i guess. i like to get up, get out of the house, get something accomplished, not be put out in pasture.

>> reporter: she's been doing it since 1942 , starting at 65 cents an hour. one of thousands of american women who helped the war effort by joining the rosie the rivet uhher brigades.

>> reporter: when the war ended the rosies disappeared.

>> within days we were gone.

>> reporter: elinor , a young beauty with a son in need of a paycheck tried office work and even car hopping before lucking out when the southern california aircraft industry still had a place for her. she's never left it, admired by co-workers like craig ryba.

>> she egos about her job like anybody else.

>> reporter: and an answer to the questions even her boss don sometimes has on inevitable bad days .

>> why am i slowing up? why am i at home? elinor is at work and elinor is 93 years old.

>> reporter: the rosie the riveter "we can do it" motto was a theme for the movement and elinor likes that. is this appropriate work for a woman?

>> what do you think? it's not?

>> reporter: she's here mostly because there is nothing she would rather do.

>> reporter: there is an old joke that despite the high cost of living it remains popular. elinor is a person who will do whatever it takes to feel alive. this does it for her -- showing up each day for a b job she can still do, now at nearly $40 an hour, a worker happy among workers.

>> thank you very much.

>> reporter: for 70 years now. mike taibbi , nbc news, long beach,