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"Changing the World, Building New Lives"

Women at Work

Gail and Kate Rebuild My VW Engine. Emeryville, 1973.

"I took a class for women at 'Breakaway: A Women's Liberation School' which demystified auto mechanics for me and then Gail invited me to join her in her backyard garage. I was so excited to be using my body and tools. Raised as an upper middle class girl, this had been off-limits to me. Non-traditional work was highly regarded in the lesbian community; I got a lot of positive reinforcement from my peers." (Kate Kauffman.) Gail is still an auto mechanic in the SF East Bay.

Household Technicians Organize.
San Francisco, 1972.

"A major priority of the S.F. Household Technicians is the development of a standard contract between each household employee and her employer. The contract will outline hours, pay, duties and benefits.. It will also include provisions for raises, probationary periods, transportation to and from work, and retirement programs." (Change: a working woman's newspaper, Sept. 1972.)

Workers on Strike at Jung Sai/Chinese American Sewing Company.
San Francisco, 1974.

"Efforts to organize (Jung Sai a subsidiary of Esprit de Corp) began fifteen months ago but were recently intensified because a new manager lowered piece rates and laid off workers. A hundred workers, out of 135, signed cards with ILGWU Local 101. The strike was precipitated when Frankie Ma, a union activist, was fired for 'unsatisfactory work' (after 2 1/2 years!) .Jung Sai workers, most of them middle-aged women, sat down in front of the shop. Management tried to crash through with bins of cloth and several workers were hospitalized. 38 women were arrested for blocking trucks. 15 more were arrested a week later. The Chinese community rallied support Esprit closed the shop claiming bankruptcy]. .They finally won a favorable settlement almost 10 years later." (Joyce Maupin, UnionWAGE newspaper, 1974.)

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