Vol. 1, No. 1, 1978, p. 25
A group of individuals gathered in Atlanta recently with Karen Nussbaum of the Working Women Organization Project (WWOP) to discuss the problems of Southern working women in the office place. This meeting represented the Project’s first attempt to. start new organizations of women office workers in the Southern region.
Ms. Nussbaum, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said, “Women earn .56 to every dollar a man earns on the average. When it comes to expenses, however, women have to pay a full dollar for every dollar a man pays.” She further stated, “Discrimination is not found only in your paycheck.. working women are often treated unfairly when it comes to lob descriptions, working conditions,promotions and respect, as well.”
The WWOP was started in 1973 arid now has over 10,000 members in 18 cities around the country. The group provides training, resource materials, and also organizational and technical support to women interested in organizing in their office for better working conditions.
Although there are laws protecting women against discrimination in employment, these laws often do not protect women against lob segregation, or patterns of work and sex discrimination. To further complicate the problem, often times there are no men with whom to compare salaries and benefits doing the lobs that women are assigned to do. Particulary active around National Secretaries Week, the group launched a program calling for “raises not roses” in an effort to emphasize the wage disparities currently existing in the workplace.
While the group stresses its good working relationship with organized labor, the majority of the members of WWOP groups are working in small offices where unionization is not frequently an effective solution. One of the most useful aspects of WWOP is that it is not necessary for an entire staff to participate. Individuals can loin and benefit from the training and materials as well as members of a larger staff. Group negotiation is one of the many tactics used by WWOP in their problem solving tactics.
Women interested in finding out more about the Working Women Organizing Project and their plans for activities in the South should contact the group at 1258 Euclid Avenue, Room 206, Cleveland, Ohio, 44115 or telephone (216)566-8511.