Transcript: 9to5 Newsletter for Boston Area Office Workers

This newsletter page is featured in the exhibit "From Roses to Raises," section: "9to5: Demanding Raises, Rights, and Respect."

Courtesy of Ellen Cassedy.

9to5 newsletter for boston area office workers 

VOL. 1, NO. 1 


Every Morning... 

Every morning thousands of us - mostly women - get up, dress up, and go off to work in the offices of Boston. In business corporations, hospitals, and universities, we file, collate, mimeograph, staple, stuff, type, address, punch, seal, alphabetize, transcribe, and Xerox the material that arrives at our desks. We deal in paper, recording and communicating the activities of others. Our jobs are largely mechanical; the skills we use don't require much understanding of the workings of the institutions we serve. Yet we are as essential in our places of employment as the cooks in a restaurant or the welders on an auto assembly line. We keep Boston's businesses and institutions running smoothly. Without us, they would grind to a halt.

Yet most clerical workers have very little decision-making power at our jobs. Rare indeed is an office in which all the secretaries get together to rotate work and share responsil-ities [sic]. Nor do we help to determine the overall policies of the institutions we work for. Denied the opportunity to think about what we are doing and make changes, we are often bored. And our importance is also unrecognized materially; we are paid very little and receive few benefits. 

How do we deal with this situation? Many of us try to play down the discouraging aspects of our jobs. We don't define ourselves as office workers - for example, we think of ourselves more as mothers or wives. Yet this image doesn't reflect reality. 

[Cartoon of a typewriter with a woman trapped under the keys]

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