Ellen Cassedy

Jan 6, 2023

Working 9 to 5

A Women's Movement, a Labor Union, and the Iconic Movie

Chicago Review Press 2022

purchase at bookshop.org

Today I talked to Ellen Cassedy about her new book Working 9 to 5: A Women's Movement, a Labor Union, and the Iconic Movie (Chicago Review Press, 2022).

Many people may identify 9 to 5 with the comic film starring Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin or perhaps only know Parton’s hit song that served as its theme. But 9 to 5 wasn't just a comic film—it was a movement built by Ellen Cassedy and her friends. Ten office workers in Boston started out sitting in a circle and sharing the problems they encountered on the job. In a few short years, they had built a nationwide movement that united people of diverse races, classes, and ages. They took on the corporate titans. They leafleted and filed lawsuits and started a woman-led union. They won millions of dollars in back pay and helped make sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination illegal. The women office workers who rose up to win rights and respect on the job transformed workplaces throughout America. And along the way came Dolly Parton's toe-tapping song and a hit movie inspired by their work. Working 9 to 5 is a lively, informative, firsthand account packed with practical organizing lore that will embolden anyone striving for fair treatment.

Ellen Cassedy was a founder of the 9 to 5 organization in 1973. She is the coauthor with Karen Nussbaum of 9 to 5: The Working Woman's Guide to Office Survival and with Ellen Bravo of The 9 to 5 Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment. Ellen Cassedy is a former columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, was a speechwriter in the Clinton administration, and has contributed to Huffington Post, Redbook, Woman's Day, Hadassah, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications.

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