Scope and Content
Material Cataloged Separately
Title: Union Women's Alliance To Gain Equality Records,
Date (inclusive): 1971-1982
Accession number: 1986/22
Union Women's Alliance To Gain Equality
Extent: 18 manuscript boxes; 7.5 linear feet (4.89 cu. feet)
San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
San Francisco, California 94132
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing
to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Union Women's Alliance To Gain Equality Records, 1986/22, Labor Archives & Research Center,
San Francisco State University.
The office files of the organization Union Women's Alliance to Gain Equality (Union W.A.G.E.)
were donated by the Data Center, Oakland, California, contact person, Leon Sompolinsky, Data
Center Archivist, on 4 April 1986. The collection was processed by Suzanne Forsyth, October
Union Women's Alliance to Gain Equality (Union W.A.G.E.) was founded on International
Women's Day, March 8, 1971, at an educational conference sponsored by the National
Organization for Women (NOW), at the University of California, Berkeley. Union W.A.G.E. was
a politically non-partisan, non-profit organization for "working women" which included
housewives, unemployed, retired, and welfare women. The organization's purpose was to achieve
"equal rights, equal pay, and equal opportunity" for working women.
Union W.A.G.E. was created at a workshop during the NOW conference entitled "Extending
Protective Legislation to All Workers." The panelists included future Union W.A.G.E. leaders
Jean Maddox, president of the Office and Professional Employees Union, AFL-CIO, Local 29,
and Ann Draper, West Coast Union Label Director for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of
America, AFL-CIO. By the end of the panel discussion the participants all agreed on the necessity
of a working women's feminist organization and voted to reconstitute themselves as that
Maxine Wolpinsky (now Maxine Jenkins), then an American Federation of State, County, and
Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, field organizer for Local 1695, was also a part of the NOW
conference. She joined Union W.A.G.E. and served as newspaper editor for the next three years.
The main groups which first made up Union W.A.G.E. were the Committee to Extend Protective
Legislation to Men, a caucus of the International Socialists; San Francisco State's Independent
Campus Women; U.C. Berkeley's Graduate Sociology Women's Caucus; and many members of
the Office and Professional Employees Union Local 29. Although Union W.A.G.E. considered itself a national organization, the
bulk of its membership,
as well as its headquarters was located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
One of the organization's main activities was publishing a bi-monthly newspaper,
which focused on working women's issues from a feminist and labor movement
perspective. Another focal point of Union W.A.G.E. activity was the California Industrial Welfare
Commission. Through the members' testimony, lobbying efforts and serving on I.W.C. wage
boards Union W.A.G.E. sought to represent the interests of working women. Issues they brought
before the I.W.C. included the need to preserve and extend protective legislation threatened by
the Equal Rights Amendment, and raising the minimum wage requirements. Union W.A.G.E. also
sponsored educational conferences and events, and published literature for women workers.
Topics the organization covered included: organizing non-union workplaces; fighting sexism on
the job and in the unions; preventing job-related health hazards for women workers; fighting for
rank-and-file control and democracy within the unions; and promoting women's labor history.
Scope and Content
The Union W.A.G.E. collection contains the office files of this feminist organization. Types of
materials include the minutes and correspondence of the Executive Board, the organization's
constitutions, convention documents, administrative records, membership documentation, general
correspondence, information on other feminist groups and the women's movement internationally,
ephemera from Union W.A.G.E. events, financial records, newspaper correspondence,
membership opinion surveys, newsclippings, interchapter newsletters, minutes and
correspondence of local chapters, the records and ephemera from Union W.A.G.E. involvement
with the Industrial Welfare Commission, and a complete set of
Union W.A.G.E. newspaper,
The earliest materials contained in the collection are attendance sheets, newsclippings, Union
W.A.G.E. Newsletters, and the program of the conference where Union W.A.G.E. was founded,
all dated 1971. The most recent materials are ephemera from benefits and conferences,
correspondence, and newsclippings, dating 1981-82. The bulk of the material spans the years
Researchers will value the collection for documenting the attempts of feminists to address and
deal with working class women's issues and needs. The Union W.A.G.E. subject files give insight
into issues of importance for feminists and working women of the 1970s and feminist organizing
techniques of the 1970s. Of note in particular are the informal character of the organization and
its leadership, and the openness and self-criticism of the inter-chapter newsletters.
The Union W.A.G.E. collection is divided into ten series. Within each series, material is separated
by subject and, within each subject, material is arranged chronologically. The only exception is
Series IV, in which folders are arranged alphabetically. In the Box List, individual folders are
located by a set of three numbers indicating collection number, box, and folder. Therefore, 2/3/4
indicates Collection 2: Union W.A.G.E.; Box 3, Folder 4: Executive Board Election Results,
1980. Folder titles are followed by dates, which indicate when the material was produced.
Material Cataloged Separately
The Union W.A.G.E. pamphlet collection, which includes both Union W.A.G.E. pamphlets and
pamphlets published by other organizations, has been transferred to the Labor Archives central
print file. Union W.A.G.E. pamphlets contained in the print file:
Allen, Pamela, et. al.,
Jean Maddox: The Fight For Rank and File Democracy, 1976.
Labor Heroines: The Women Who Led The Struggle, 1974.
Maupin, Joyce, ed.,
Talking Union: a Guide for Working Women, 1979.
Working Women and Their Organizations-- 150 Years of Struggle, 1974.
Maupin, Joyce, ed.,
"You Can't Scare Me..." Labor Heroines: 1930s-1980s, 1981.
Union W.A.G.E. Education Committee,
Organize! A Working Women's Handbook, 1975, revised edition, 1981.
In addition the collection includes 36 cassette tapes transferred to the Archives cassette tape
- AFL-CIO Women's Conference, May 1973 Ginger, Ann, "Working Women and the Law" Glenn, Elinor, Los Angeles County Employees,
Local 434, "Negotiating Women's Issues" Glenn concludes, floor discussion Jenkins, Maxine, "Organizing the Unorganized" Jenkins
concludes, floor discussion Mulrooney, Virginia, Los Angeles College Guild, Local 1521, American Federation of Teachers (AFT),
"The Role of Women in the Labor Movement" Nolan, Kathleen, Screen Actors Guild, "Women in the Media," and Costa, Jackie, Oil,
Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW) Resolutions
- Argue, Manja, and Maupin, Joyce, "The Industrial Welfare Commission," 1/76, Union W.A.G.E. Mtg., San Francisco, Calif.
- "Dual Unionism," 9/8/75
- Maddox, Jean, Class Series on Unionism "Organizing" "Negotiating a Contract" "Negotiating a Contract" cont. "Negotiating Women's
Issues" "Women's Issues" cont. "Building a Caucus and Parliamentary Procedure" "Shop Newsletter" "Shop Newsletter" cont. Willa
Suduth, guest speaker, Machinists Union, "Blue Collar Women"
- Maddox, Jean, "The Lucky Strike," 11/10/70, KPFA
- Maddox, Jean, "The Story of the Opeu Local 29 Caucus," 11/73, Union W.A.G.E. Mtg.
- Maddox, Jean, "Trusteeship,"
- Maupin, Joyce, "An Historical View of Unemployment," Union W.a.g.e. Mtg., East Bay Chapter
- Maupin, Joyce, "Interview with Elizabeth Nicolas, 1930s Cannery Organizer," 1978
- Maupin, Joyce, "Women on the Move," KSFX
- "Organize" Conference, 11/75
- Skotnes, Pearl, "California Union Maids," 2/79, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Working Women's Conference, 1973 Kpfa Edited Version All Conference Speakers and Clerical Workshop, No Editing
The collection also contains approximately 400 photographs transferred to the Archives
- Women's conference, 1973, 19 photos;
- "How To Be A Troublemaker At Work" conference, 1980, 19 photos;
- Mime Troupe benefit, 1976, 11 photos;
- Coalition of Labor Union Women (C.L.U.W.) founding conference, 1974, 10 photos;
- Bank of America demonstration, 1972-73, 9 photos;
- demonstrations at Industrial Welfare Commission hearings, 1979. n.d., 32 photos;
- Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers' strike, undated, 6 photos;
- clerical workers conference, 1974, 6 photos;
- "With Babies and Banners" stills, 1978, 2 photos;
- "Silkwood" play, 1980, 1 photo;
- gay rights demonstrations (including blue collar women's contingent) and gay strike support, 1982, 11 photos;
- San Francisco hotel workers' strike, 1980, n.d., 13 photos and negatives;
- Shell strike, women workers and families picket, 1973, 7 photos;
- Jung Sai strike (Asian women workers), 1974, 6 photos;
- nurses' strikes, 1974, 1982, 13 photos;
- anti-intervention demonstrations, n.d., 33 photos;
- "Justice vs. J.P. Stevens," n.d., 5 photos;
- union caucuses, n.d., 8 photos;
- protests against union busting, 1975, 12 photos;
- city workers' strike (including Gloria Steinem and Diane Feinstein), 1974, 16 photos;
- runaway shops, n.d., 11 photos;
- yellow cab lockout, n.d., 14 photos;
- disabled people, 1977, n.d., 12 photos;
- misc. strikes and organizing drives, 1971-77, 1979, 125 photos;
- misc. unidentified photos, undated, 90+;
- unidentified negatives.
Duplicate materials, ballots, routine financial records, and Industrial Welfare Commission
materials not related to Union W.A.G.E. have been disposed of.